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How debilitating can back pain be?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Millions of Americans suffer from all kinds of back pain - some of it chronic and throbbing, and some of it so debilitating and sharp that it'll send them to the floor yelping for their mama.
In many ways, back pain is a metaphorical gun-shot wound to your body because, depending on its intensity, it can paralyze you from doing anything - even walking, tying your shoes, or using the bathroom. (In fact, 72 percent of people who sought treatment for back pain gave up on sports and exercise and 46 percent of people with back pain say it was enough to have them give up sex. And not just for a day.) Back pain is so prevalent that it's spawned multi-million-dollar industries that are trying to deal with it. Anytime you have a lot of treatment options, it means none of them are perfect, or else the others would die off (I hate to use that word). Luckily, there are helpful things you can do, too. In general, less is more.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.