• Neurosciences

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Solving back pain problems

Millions of Americans suffer from back and neck pain. Luckily, there is a wide range of options to treat it.

Oct. 16 is World Spine Day to create awareness about spinal health. The key to beating back pain is figuring out the cause and the best treatment option.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:59) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

Got back pain? You're definitely not alone.

"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.


For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

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