Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Attitude, Knowledge Can Relieve Back Pain

Study Shows a Positive Attitude and 'Health Literacy' Play Key Roles in Back Pain Relief

Attitudes and Beliefs Affect Back Pain continued...

They were also less likely to believe that their back pain would get better with treatment.

"We know from the literature that anatomical causes account for only a small proportion of back pain cases," Briggs says.

Patients who reported being disabled by their back pain had more fear that resuming normal activities or exercising would make their condition worse.

Many patients had trouble finding, understanding, or using the information they received about their condition. This was more common among patients with disabling back pain when the researchers used their own assessment of health literacy.

The study appears this week in the journal Pain.

Back Pain Patients Need to Stay Active

The vast majority of people who experience low back pain get better on their own within a few weeks.

While bed rest was once encouraged, the conventional wisdom these days is that most patients with back pain should remain as active as possible.

Orthopaedic surgeon William A. Abdu, MD, says he is not surprised that patients who don't understand or accept the importance of staying active report more disabling pain.

Abdu is medical director of the Spine Center at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

A study of patients with back pain now under way at Dartmouth confirms the importance of educating patients about their back pain and potential treatments, he says.

"We've found that shared decision making is critical," he says. "The idea is to educate patients as thoroughly as possible so that they can make informed choices about treatment. One might choose acupuncture while another might choose physical therapy, and another might want chiropractic care. When patients understand their options, outcomes tend to be better."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Woman holding lower back
Or is it another form of back pain?
Hand on back
See the myths vs. the facts.
Woman doing pilates
Good and bad exercises.
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Use it to manage your pain.
Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
pain in brain and nerves
Chronic Pain Healtcheck
Health Check
break at desk
Woman holding lower back
Weight Loss Surgery
lumbar spine
back pain