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Back pain widely overtreated

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Posted: Jun 8, 2010 5:30 AM by Andrea Fontenot
Source: Associated Press

  Rating: 1.0 (1 vote)

Topics: medical, health, back, pain, MRI, pain pills, x-ray, doctors, bills, treatment, acupuncture, cost

A recent estimate has Americans spending a staggering $86 billion a year to care for aching backs.

The money covers MRIs, pain pills, nerve blocks, even acupuncture.

However, research finds little evidence that the population got better as the medical bills soared over the past decade.

The reality is that time often is the best antidote.

Up to 90 percent will heal on their own within weeks.

In fact, for run-of-the-mill cases, doctors aren't even supposed to do an X-ray or MRI unless the pain
lingers for a month to six weeks.

Yet, a study last year found nearly 1 in 3 aching Medicare patients get some kind of back scan within that first month.

The bigger problem is that there's no one-size-fits-most treatment.

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