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Back Pain: What Is The Long-Term Outlook?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 09:43

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

About 90 percent of people with acute low back problems will recover in one month. Sprains and strains of muscle and ligaments usually respond well to conservative treatment without any significant long-lasting effects. Mild pain does not justify surgery, and there's little concern of irreversible changes occurring in the nerve.

However, it is not uncommon for a person to experience more than one episode of back pain. Whether the pain will recur depends in large part on the initial cause. It's difficult to predict which people will have repeated episodes of back pain.

Nice To Know:

It is important to return to work and other daily activities as quickly as possible after experiencing back pain.

  • More than half of people with back pain return to work in a week.
  • About 90% of people with back pain return to work within three months.
  • But in people who remain on disability for longer than a year, about 75% will not return to work again. This puts them at risk for becoming significantly depressed.

The best way to prevent low back pain is to stay fit. You should continue with an exercise plan, even after your back seems better. Exercise has many other health benefits as well.

How To Information:

Back Tips

Here are some simple things you can do to help prevent low back pain:

  • Lift with objects held close to your body.
  • Avoid lifting while twisting or bending forward and reaching.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Keep work surfaces at a comfortable height.
  • Use a chair with a good lower back support that reclines slightly.
  • If sitting for long periods is unavoidable, try resting your feet on the floor or on a low stool, whichever is more comfortable.
  • If standing for long periods of time is unavoidable, try resting one foot on a low stool.
  • If driving for long distances is unavoidable, try using a pillow or rolled-up towel behind the small of your back. Also, be sure to stop frequently (every one to two hours) and walk around for a few minutes.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees, or sleep on one side with your knees bent and a pillow between your knees.

 

Back Pain