Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning.
The exact cause of low back pain can be hard to determine. In most cases, back pain may be a symptom of many different causes, including any of the following:
Low back pain is classified as acute (or short term) and chronic. Acute low back pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute low back pain will resolve on its own. Chronic low back pain lasts for more than 3 months and often gets worse. The cause of chronic low back pain can be hard to find.
These are the most common symptoms of low back pain. Symptoms may include discomfort or pain in the lower back that is:
The pain may radiate into one or both buttocks or even into the thigh or hip area.
The symptoms of low back pain may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, tests for low back pain may include:
Treatment may include:
Rehabilitation is often a part of treatment for low back pain. Generally, there are 3 phases of low back pain rehabilitation.
The following may help to prevent low back pain:
Call your healthcare provider if:
Most back pain will ease in a few days to a few weeks. If the pain lasts longer than 3 months, it is considered chronic and you should talk with your healthcare provider. Recovery from low back pain can take time. To prevent back pain from coming back, it's important to follow good health practices, such as:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider: