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This week: Pain, cancer rates, HIV prevention

Pain is the human body's alarm system, but not every alarm can be traced to an injury that requires treatment.

Back pain is one example. It's the kind of problem almost everyone will face at some point. But when should you be concerned? Adam Rufa, a doctor of physical therapy at Upstate Medical University, says people should seek evaluation for pain that is accompanied by numbness or tingling, a change in bowel or bladder habits or pain that is severe and does not improve.

The most recent treatment recommendations for back pain urge doctors not to rush to medications or other interventions. Rufa says physical therapists can assess pain and provide tools to help relieve pain. 

Also on this week’s show: why overall cancer death rates have fallen in recent decades, with some exceptions, plus how to protect yourself from HIV.

Tune in this Sunday, December 24 at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. for "HealthLink on Air."