back pain

Chances are, you — or someone you know — has suffered from lower back pain.

It can be debilitating. It's a leading cause of disability globally.

And the number of people with the often-chronic condition is likely to increase.

If you're tired of popping pain medicine for your lower back pain, yoga may be a good alternative.

New research finds that a yoga class designed specifically for back pain can be as safe and effective as physical therapy in easing pain.

The yoga protocol was developed by researchers at Boston Medical Center with input from yoga teachers, doctors and physical therapists.

One of the most common reasons people go to the doctor is lower back pain, and one of the most common reasons doctors prescribe powerful, addictive narcotics is lower back pain.

Now, research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association offers the latest evidence that spinal manipulation can offer a modestly effective alternative.

Most of us suffer back pain at some point in our lives. In fact, it's one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor. Many of us also probably reach for medication. Now, new guidelines from the American College of Physicians say try exercise, yoga, or massage first.

That's a pretty big change for both doctors and patients, but a welcome one, some doctors say.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Cameron Stewart is a big man. He played high school sports. He served as in the Marine medic corps in Afghanistan and Iraq. But after he was left with crippling back pain, he became a chiropractor — and his greatest professional talent may be empathy.

You would think after playing defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for nine years, and then 11 more as a Tampa firefighter, John Cannon might have back pain.

But the engineer-driver said he feels pretty good, thanks in part to a short exercise program TFR put together with researchers from USF Health - a program that, with the help of a $1.3 million federal grant, will soon be tested by firefighters in the Tampa Bay area's three largest departments.

The misery of low back pain often drives people to the doctor to seek relief. But doctors are doing a pretty miserable job of treating back pain, a study finds.

Physicians are increasingly prescribing expensive scans, narcotic painkillers and other treatments that don't help in most cases, and can make things a lot worse. Since 1 in 10 of all primary care visits are for low back pain, this is no small matter.