If you suffer from back pain, you're hardly alone. It is among the top five reasons people visit a doctor. In fact, statistics indicate that 80 percent of Americans will experience severe back pain at least once in their lives-at a cost of > $75 billion a year in lost wages, reduced productivity, and medical expenses.

Back pain may be the result of an injury. Or it may appear with no clearly identifiable cause. Whatever the reason, understand that painkillers are not the only solution - they may alleviate pain temporarily, but they won't cure the cause. To solve the problem, you may need to consult with a trained physiatrist.

Dr. Dwight Lin specializes in the treatment of spine, muscular, and joint injuries. A trained physiatrist, he uses a holistic approach, evaluating injuries through a careful physical examination in correlation with patient history and diagnostic studies-such as X-rays and MRI. A treatment plan is then developed that typically includes evaluative tests, non-operative treatments and patient education.

When should you seek help?
If you have back pain or sciatica that does not resolve itself in two weeks, you may need to see a spine physiatrist to pinpoint the diagnosis and get on the path to effective treatment.