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Essentia Health Medical Insight - Back Pain/Spine Health

Dr. Baker says surgery is a last resort. You should look at therapy, exercise, and medications first. And the most effective weapons in spine health are often in your own hands. He says one of the main culprits in back pain is weight gain. He says carrying extra weight puts undo force on your spine. And the bones and muscle which support your back aren’t able to do the job they’re supposed to do. Dr. Baker says proper nutrition is vital in maintaining a desirable weight and easing the stress on your joints. Moderate exercise is also important. He says it’s important to exercise both your back and abdominal muscles to create a strong core which will provide stability and support to the spine. Pay attention to how you’re sitting. Sitting up straight and using ergonomically correct furniture goes a long way in building core strength. Dr. Baker also encourages people to get their bone density tested. Weak bones are a common problem in older women and can lead to more serious concerns. But how do you know when it’s something more serious? Dr. Baker says he looks for neurological red flags...which include sudden loss of function, severe pain associated with numbness and sudden loss of bowel or bladder function. He says if you experience any of those symptoms, see your doctor immediately.