• By Ian Roth

Mayo Clinic Minute: Got back pain?

October 13, 2017

Got back pain? You're definitely not alone. Millions of Americans suffer with back and neck pain. Luckily, there are a wide range of options to treat it. The key is figuring the cause and the best treatment option.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:58) is in the downloads. Read the script.

"The majority of the population ─ overwhelming majority of people ─ will experience back or neck pain at some point in their lives," Dr. Mo Bydon, a spine surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, says. "Back and neck pain are two of the top five reasons for anyone to see their doctor."

Dr. Bydon says there is a reason so many have back problems.

"There are many joints in the back, and each of them can degenerate and can cause pain," he says. "In addition, as we age, we utilize our back and our neck more and more."

Dr. Bydon says pinpointing the exact source of the pain and finding the best way to fix it can be tricky but not hopeless.

"Generally, something can be done to help ─ usually starting with nonoperative measures," Dr. Bydon says.

He says in many cases ice packs, heat packs, physical therapy or injections can take care of the problem. Other times, surgery is the only thing that can alleviate the pain.

But, Dr. Bydon says, you do have some control in avoiding back problems.

Strengthening of the musculature around the back, those are important areas to help prevent back pain and to help slow down the rate of degeneration," he says.

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