Back Pain Advice to Take with a Grain of Salt

Back pain is one of the most common complaints among adults of all ages. It is so common that one can easily find some well-intended advice nearly anywhere they look. In many cases, the advice that is offered can be beneficial in some way. Where people may go wrong is in mistaking any single piece of advice for a proven back pain treatment. Here, we take a look at a few of these suggestions and how they may be detrimental on their own but effective as part of a larger treatment program. 

Treating Back Pain: Common Suggestions

Pain Medication

We do not like being in pain. Whether it is a tension headache or low back pain that has occurred, one of the first ways we manage is by taking an over-the-counter pain medication. While this suggestion does have its benefits, where we go wrong is in looking at pain medication as the sole treatment for our discomfort. Pain killers do one thing, they kill pain. They do not address the reason pain has developed, nor do they provide the respite the body needs to attempt to heal itself. If you take pain medication for a back or neck problem, combine it with physical therapy exercises prescribed just for you. 


People who visit their doctor to discuss back pain may be advised to get injection therapy. Like oral medications that reduce pain, injections are not meant to be a stand-alone treatment. This modality is also best paired with a thorough spinal examination and physical therapy program that addresses the structural problem that is causing pain.


Inversion tables are commonly used by people who want to prevent or treat back pain. To use it, you strap your ankles or feet into harnesses and tip the table so that your head is inverted or you are hanging completely upside down. The point is to reduce pressure on the spine and thereby reduce pain. Inversion can be valuable and effective for short-term pain relief. However, it also does not reverse the spinal condition that is causing pain and so should not be relied upon as the one-and-only method of care.  

Spinal Surgery

Why would a reputable spinal surgeon warn against jumping straight to surgical intervention for a neck or back problem? Because, surgery is a big undertaking. Rarely is surgery the first option. If it is, it is because the spinal injury is too severe to manage with more conservative modalities like medication, rest, and physical therapy. If you are told that you need spinal surgery as a first-line approach to your back or neck pain, ask as many questions as you can and also get a second opinion before agreeing to the treatment. 

We are proud to serve patients in the New York City area with the utmost spinal care. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Albert, call 212-606-1004.

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