Most people who have back pain will make at least one visit to their family practitioner or internal medicine physician. Many of these visits are used as an opportunity for the patient to learn more about what causes back pain, whether or not a particular patient needs to see a surgeon soon, and what can be done to alleviate the pain.
In the past, many doctors used to advise patients to spend a significant amount of time in bed, waiting for their back to feel better. Today, we recognize that the best treatment for a back sprain or strain is early mobilization and a relatively rapid return to normal activities. Most doctors will now recommend a brief period of rest, generally one or two days, during which most patients are also advised to take a course of anti-inflammatory medications in order to help reduce the pain and inflammation. They are then advised to return to their normal activities and begin an exercise program that will make them feel better with time.
Many medical plans will require that a patient be seen by a family practitioner before they are referred to a specialist, and these family doctors are often very skilled at selecting those patients that should be seen by a surgeon sooner rather than later. They often also have a physical therapist that is instrumental in getting patients up on their feet again, and they can be a terrific resource for suggestions on how to cope with mild to moderate cases of back pain or strains.
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