Most Popular Questions About Back Pain

Medically Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on November 13, 2021

About 80% of Americans have back pain at some time in their lives. It's one of the main reasons people go to the doctor, and it's second only to upper respiratory infections as the reason people call in sick to work. Fortunately, back pain usually goes away within a few days. But when it hurts to move, even that is too long.

Do you know what you can do at home and work to prevent back pain? What if you've already hurt your back? Which treatments might help?

We gathered some of your most common back pain questions and took them to WebMD Chief Medical Editor Michael Smith, MD.

Click on the links below to see how Dr. Smith answered your questions about back pain prevention and treatment.

Deon S. has a question about back pain. Deon S. wants to know how to relieve pain from standing long hours.

Alex C. has back pain question Alex C. asks, "When should I go to the doctor about back pain?"

Tim P. has back pain question Tim P. wonders if a back brace really helps with heavy lifting.

Renee W. has back pain question Renee W. wakes up with back pain that goes away during the day. Dr. Smith says it might be her mattress.

Luis F. has back pain question Luis F. feels pain after lifting weights. Dr. Smith explains how exercising incorrectly can hurt.

woman's head shot Candice G. asks how to avoid the aches of working in the garden.

Georgiana F. has back pain question Georgiana F. asks if massage is good for back pain.

Ewan C. has back pain question Ewan C. wonders if poor posture played a role in his back pain.

Marie H. has back pain question Marie H. asks how to lift and carry an infant without causing back pain.

Nicole C. has back pain question Dr. Smith gives Nicole C. tips for sitting properly at a desk to avoid pain.

Nikki R. has back pain question Nikki R. seeks help in choosing over-the-counter pain relievers.

Joseph L. has back pain question Joseph L. has an achy neck and shoulders. Dr. Smith offers simple exercises to relieve tension.

Cheisa R. has back pain question Cheisa R. wants to know, is it OK to keep working if your back hurts?

Stanley B. has back pain question Stanley B. asks what the leading cause of back pain is.

Jessica P. has back pain question Jessica P. wants ways to strengthen her core and prevent back pain.

Alex C. has back pain question Alex C. wants to know if yoga is a good idea when your back hurts.

Cherise R. has back pain question Cherise R. asks, which is better for back pain: resting in bed or staying active?

Andrew N. has back pain question Andrew N. wants to know how common back pain is.

Maryanne G. has back pain question Dr. Smith answers Maryanne G.'s question: Heat or ice for an aching back?

Melinda V. has back pain question Melinda V. is curious about whether acupuncture relieves back pain.

Show Sources


Freburger, J. Archives of Internal Medicine, Feb. 9, 2009.

University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Health Professions: "Mechanical Low Back Pain."

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Low Back Pain Fact Sheet."

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