Health Watch — Back Pain: Impact

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

More than 60 million Americans — eight out of ten people — report having back pain. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about back pain and what doctors can do about it.

Back pain can be caused by muscle strain or weakness, spinal fractures and tumors, degenerative or herniated discs, spinal deformities, scoliosis and other problems. The impact of back pain is huge, even if it isn’t life-threatening. It’s the leading cause of disability and the second-leading cause of missed work. Dr. Kevin Gill, an orthopaedic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says doctors who treat back pain aren’t saving lives. They’re saving lifestyles by helping people stay mobile. Dr. Gill is one of the directors of UT Southwestern’s Spine Center, where doctors and other medical specialists from a variety of disciplines team up to treat spine problems and back pain.

Next: Treating back pain may not require back surgery.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical service in orthopaedic surgery


March 2008

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