Take Charge of Your Health Today….Low Back Pain


This month’s Take Charge of Your Health page addresses low back pain.  Recently, we sat down with the new President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Carlos T. Carter to discuss this common issue and what readers should and can do to take charge of their health. Q: Have you ever experienced lower back pain now or earlier in life? Carlos: Yes, I have, I’m sure many people have. For me, when I was a student, I experienced lower back pain a lot. It turns out that it was because of the way I was carrying my book bag on one shoulder. Thankfully for me, I never had to go to a doctor to address it because I figured out what the cause was on my own.

Q: That is great that your pain was not debilitating enough to require medical treatment.  But the hard truth is that many Black people are more susceptible to lower back pain.

Carlos. Absolutely, Black people are disproportionately impacted because of the labor jobs that we fill. We are on our feet for a majority of the day and that stress on your body over time matters. Other factors like diet play a part as well.  Education and accessibility to good diet help keep people healthy. Daily stretching and a balanced diet can help alleviate lower back pain. Be honest with yourself. Are there things that you can do differently? Take me for example, once I pinpointed that my back pain was being caused by the way I was wearing my backpack, I switched it up.

Q: What might motivate community members to be involved in these clinical trials on back pain? 

I believe that giving financial incentives as well as communicating to Black people the importance of these trials and how the research can improve the quality of life for Black people and their families.  They really need to understand how this can improve the quality of their lives.

Q: What advice can you lend others that may be in the same situation?

Carlos: Well of course, I would suggest that if your pain is too much to withstand, seeking medical advice is the best solution but when you do, it’s important that you attend your meeting equipped with the right questions to ask.  Make a plan when you see your doctor, bring your notes with you so you know what to ask–ask about treatment options like is medicine necessary? We want readers to take charge of their health and in order to do that they need to be empowered enough to be their own advocates.




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