5 things to know about back pain

Money magazine—April 18, 2012

Americans spend plenty of money seeking a cure for back pain. It's a common, often debilitating ailment.

About 80% of adults will suffer back pain  at some point in their lifetime, making it among the top reasons Americans visit the doctor.

Chronic spine aches can be a pain in your wallet too: Patients who suffer from bad backs need an average of $6,100 worth of medical care each year, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which means you're likely to be looking at big co-payments for prescriptions, doctor visits, and even surgery.

Cheap treatments often do the trick

Take ibuprofen, apply ice, and take it easy for a day or two, says Paul Cooke, a physiatrist at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery.

If you see no improvement in a few days, go see your primary care doctor who may refer you to a physical therapist. Most insurers cover PT for at least 10 visits.

Read the full story at Money.CNN.com and Finance.Yahoo.com.

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