Neurosurgeon Mohamad Bydon, M.D., answers the most frequently asked questions about herniated disks.

Hello. I'm Dr. Mohamad Bydon, a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic. I'm here to answer some of the important questions you may have about back and neck pain.

Sleep and stress can both contribute to pain. Sleep is the period during which the body rejuvenates itself. An adequate period of sleep, with good quality of sleep, is very important to manage pain successfully. Stress can also be an exacerbator of pain. Managing stress properly and dealing with it in adequate ways is also a very important component of managing pain.

I commonly get questions about mattresses and pillows. And there's good reason for this. We spend so much time sleeping, that sleep is an important component of our back and neck health. With a mattress, the general idea is to have something of medium firmness. You want something that gives just enough support, but not too much support. A mattress that is too soft will put you back into awkward positions at night and exacerbate painful conditions. A mattress that's too firm will not allow your back and neck to rest and will put pressure on areas of your back and neck. In terms of a pillow, you want one that allows neutral position of your neck. So you don't want your neck overly flexed, you don't want it overly extended. So as long as that pillows maintaining neutral position, then that's a good pillow for you for the way that you sleep.

Arthritis of the neck and back is a common condition. This is known as wear and tear or degenerative disease. They cause back and neck pain. Back pain is the number one reason to see your doctor, neck pain is the number three reason to see your doctor. In our lifetimes, 80% of us will experience back pain so severe that it requires medical attention.

Arthritis cannot be stopped, there is no cure for arthritis, but it can be managed and treated. Core strengthening is very important. Maintaining a good body weight is very important. Building strength, exercise not being sedentary, all of those are things that are very important in helping manage and treating arthritis.

It's important to partner with your medical team to get the best result for your health care condition. The best way to do that is to be informed about your condition. We've provided you with a lot of information today that will allow you to work with your doctor and their medical team. Never hesitate to ask your medical team questions that you may have. Being informed makes all the difference. Thank you for your time and we wish you well.

May 17, 2022