Nei­ther young nor old should ig­nore lin­ger­ing back pain

The Globe - - OPINION -

When you get some back pain while you’re young usu­ally brings forth the state­ment, “I’m just out of shape.”

When the pain lasts too long you usu­ally blame your­self un­til some­one tells you that the dis­com­fort should have got­ten bet­ter even if you’re old and have been in­ac­tive.

The next step most peo­ple take is get­ting some spasm and pain medicine at the drug­store. If all this fails, you may con­sider a doc­tor’s visit.

Age is a fac­tor. Older peo­ple be­come more in­tol­er­ant of their dis­com­fort and want to get bet­ter quicker. Per­haps they should lis­ten to the rec­om­men­da­tions of their friends and fam­ily who say it’s time to go to the doc­tor.

Af­ter a while, even young peo­ple start to get wor­ried about lin­ger­ing pain. Con­tin­u­ing pain should be a warn­ing that some­thing more se­ri­ous could be wrong.

Too of­ten, men take an at­ti­tude that you just have to grin and bear it, while women waste less time un­til they seek pro­fes­sional help. Ac­cord­ing to com­par­a­tive stud­ies, men have shorter vis­its to the doc­tor be­cause they have fewer ques­tions while women want an­swers, have more ques­tions and will be anx­ious to get ev­ery­thing ex­plained.

The doc­tor may get X-rays and even do blood tests. The last thing any­one wants to finG RXW LV WKDW WKH EDFN SDLn WXrnHG RXW WR EH Hodgkin’s dis­ease or an­other form of bone can­cer.

With lin­ger­ing pain, no one should post­pone hav­ing an ex­am­i­na­tion by a physi­cian. Hope­fully, the pa­tient is just out of shape!

The doc­tor will ask when the pain started and per­haps seem­ingly un­re­lated ques­tions like the color of re­cent bowel move­ments and any other changes in life­style. The in­take of al­co­hol and as­pirins and, of course, whether the per­son smokes will pos­si­bly be re­lated to the pain.

Never as­sume that dis­com­fort that lasts should be blamed on age or be­ing out of shape. Never over­look any pain that lingers re­gard­less of age or where it oc­curs.

If all is well, dis­cuss an ex­er­cise pro­gram with the doc­tor. No one should start out press­ing hun­dreds of pounds of weights. In­stead of just be­ing in­volved, it would be best to get into a su­per­vised pro­gram. Re­mem­ber that ex­er­cise is of value at any age if done cor­rectly.

Young peo­ple seem to think they’re partSu­per­man. Whether it’s run­ning in hot weather or swim­ming laps in the pool un­til ex­haus­tion sets in, life is not an en­durance chal­lenge.

No one should try to im­press oth­ers by hid­ing fa­tigue.

Ev­ery­one should re­al­ize that be­ing out of shape is not an in­di­ca­tion that some­one is less mas­cu­line or an in­di­ca­tion of phys­i­cal IDLOXrH. 0HDn­wKLOH, VHH D SKyVLFLDn IRr GLV­com­fort that con­tin­ues.

Dr.Mil­ton Fried­man

Health& Science

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