Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

Tag: low back pain

Great Art Meets Dynamic Medical Teaching

I wrote a post for NPR’s Shots blog about back pain. The article arose out of a post I wrote here a few weeks ago. That’s right—GlassHospital, where we sow the seeds!

What I love about this latest Shots piece is that I was able to interview Doc Mike Evans, he of the famous animated whiteboard video “23 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?” that has racked up more than 4 million views on YouTube.

Evans is a lovely guy—down to earth, thoughtful, patient; he’s a father, husband, doctor, health educator, and still, at age 50, a hockey player. He didn’t even blink when I asked him several of the cliched questions he’s been asked many, many times.

Are those your hands in the videos?” –No.

Did you know ’23 1/2 Hours’ was mentioned on ‘Orange is the New Black?’ ” –Yes.

As with greatness in other realms, Evans makes what he does look effortless. But it’s not. Each video takes at least a month of research/writing/editing before his crew even gets to the filming stage. The filming and editing thereafter can take as long as another two months. That’s three months plus for videos pared down to 10 minutes or less. Information-rich videos that make the complex simple.

Rare is the video that makes you feel smarter just watching it. That’s what Evans does.

Post by NPR.

Ever Had Back Pain?

Yes you have. Unless you’re a real statistical outlier, all of us have had (or will get) back pain at some point in our adult lives.’s annoying. It hurts. It makes us feel vulnerable. Back pain can mean many things to us:

  • a harbinger of serious illness
  • a predictor of disability
  • a reminder that we’re getting older

There are a couple of key facts you should know about “garden variety” back pain—the kind that 95% of us get.

Of the 95% of us that will get it, 95% of it will be self-limited, as in, it will get better. On it’s own. No need for x-rays. No need for MRIs. And for God’s sake, avoid surgery for low back pain.

There are things you can do to improve back pain, and prevent it from recurring (core strengthening, physical therapy, etc.).

As he’s done with his masterful video about the importance of (at least minimal) exercise, preventive medicine expert Dr. Mike Evans of Toronto (@docmikeevans) has done it again. This time for a scourge common to all of us. Watch the video below when you want to learn what the science really tells us about back pain.

It will change the way you think about your back pain. And hopefully get you working on a ‘back resilience plan.’

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