By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Back pain can be very frustrating. Sometimes it develops slowly and aches constantly, while other times it comes on quickly and stabs sharply. No matter who you are or what you do, back pain will probably find you at least once – after all, it ranks among the most common medical complaints in the United States.

One in four Americans will experience at least one day of back pain in any given three-month period. For 2 to 8% of the population, the pain will turn chronic, lasting three months or more.

No one is immune, but some people are more prone to back pain than others. Back pain often strikes first between ages 30 and 40, and then grows more common as you get older. Being overweight puts stress on your spine. In addition, if you are out of condition, weak muscles may provide inadequate support to your back.

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