What Causes Back Pain and How Is It Typically Treated?

Dr. Ramesh Sahjpaul, MD, MSc, FRCSC, Neurosurgeon, discusses what back pain is and how it is typically treated.

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Dr. Ramesh Sahjpaul, MD, MSc, FRCSC, Neurosurgeon, discusses what back pain is and how it is typically treated.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Ramesh Sahjpaul, MD, MSc, FRCSC, Neurosurgeon

Duration: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Well, back pain is a very common problem, and in fact, approximately nine out of ten people will at some point in their life experience an episode of back pain, and it’s one of the most common reasons that patients visit their family physician.

The good news is that most causes of back pain are fairly self-limited and benign and do not represent a more serious underlying problem. Causes of back pain include muscle spasm, muscle tension; sometimes back pain can occur because of inflammation of the joints in the back - the facet joints.  

So these are generally called soft tissue causes of back pain, and again they’re very common and they’re usually self-limited. There is a misconception that back pain is treated surgically when in fact that’s actually not the case.  

Very simple treatments such as rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physiotherapy, hot and cold packs, acupuncture, sometimes traction, these can be very effective and are usually almost always effective in relieving the back pain. It may take weeks or a few months, but again these are the typical and most effective treatments for most cases of back pain.

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Presenter: Dr. Ramesh Sahjpaul, Neurosurgeon, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Neurosurgeon

Video Quiz ( 46 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


9 out of 10 people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.


Back pain is not typically treated surgically.


Typically back pain is caused by soft tissue injury such as muscle spasms, muscle tension and inflammation of the joints.


Treatment of back pain can involve such things like rest, anti-inflammatories, hot/cold packs, massage, acupuncture and physiotherapy.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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