The 3 things Neurosurgeons recommend for new low back pain—spoiler alert: panic isn’t one of them

The 3 things Neurosurgeons recommend for new low back pain—spoiler alert: panic isn’t one of them 1024 535 Best Practice Health TV

A great question came in this week on Phoenix Spine & Joint – YouTube:

If you have new onset back pain, the first thing you should consider is whether or not you need to act.

You need to see a doctor immediately if you have any red flags:

  • Unable to walk, severe numbness, weakness
  • Fever, shakes, night sweats or chills
  • History of cancer or unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Ninety-four percent of new onset low back pain like what GHOSTTECH is describing will resolve on its own without treatment within 12 weeks. That’s good news; but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

The next step is typically to treat at home for 3 weeks. There are thousands of products for low back pain; nearly all of them are scams. There are only 3 things that are proven—and recommended by the Low Back Pain: American College of Physicians Practice Guideline on Noninvasive Treatments | AAFP —for the treatment of non-specific low back pain in the first 3 weeks. They are:

  • Rest
  • Moist heat
  • And when safe, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like Aleve or Ibuprofen)

If your pain persists after 3 weeks, you should see your doctor for a physical exam, x-ray (they are exceedingly rare, but your doctor needs to make sure there is no sign of a fracture, infection, or tumor), and referral to physical therapy as appropriate.

You can’t reliably solve a problem you don’t understand. The next step is to understand the cause of the pain so that the right solution (the treatment) can be selected. You need to understand here that Back pain isn’t one thing, it’s four.

The 4 Causes Of Low Back Pain

Herniated Disc

Facet Arthritis


Annular tear

We are all different, so no assessment is going to be 100% accurate, but we want to try and narrow the cause of your pain. Review the choices below and pick the description (A,B,C or D) that BEST describes your back pain:

My back pain most closely matches the description in:

Is it a lot? Yes. But you’ve got this. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure this out. And if you have questions, well, I was a brain surgeon. Submit your contact info and we’ll get in touch. We can figure it out together.

Dan Lieberman, MD