Babying your back may delay healing

You might be considering surgery or other intervention to treat your back pain. But less may actually be more for this common problem, and in many instances the best medicine is good old-fashioned movement and exercise.

The enigma of back pain

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. It’s also a little strange as far as ailments go.

When you twist your ankle, you generally have pain that slowly goes away as the injury heals. Not so with back pain. Relief doesn’t seem to be linked to healing because the pain is usually unrelated to an injury. In fact, back pain often diminishes over time, even when there is an underlying problem like a herniated disc or arthritis, says Dr. James Rainville, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

Adding to the mysteries of back pain is the fact that people tend to report more back pain in their 40s and 50s than they do as they get older. But back…

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