LOW BACK PAIN OVERVIEW
our website is for educational purposes only. the information provided is not a substitution for seeing a medical doctor. for the treatment of a medical condition, see your doctor. we update the site frequently but medicine also changes frequently. thus the information on this site may not be current or accurate.
What is Low Back Pain really?
Pain in the lower back will affect 50-80% of people at some point in their life (this statistic refers to back pain bad enough to keep you from going to work...not just a little twinge after a long day at the office).
And it really occurs at all ages.
In all of medicine, back pain is the 2nd most common reason to see a doctor (the #1 reason is a respiratory infection like the common cold).
There are many causes for low back pain but its important to remember that 90% of all complaints of back pain will resolve within about 1 year. Whats more is that most back pain will actually improve within 4-6 weeks. Thats why doctors don’t jump to ordering the most expensive tests right away, like an MRI, unless they see red flags that make them think its not just your ordinary back pain.
The most common cause is a muscle strain. Its seen in people after excess activity, and people mainly complain of pain right around the spine, stiffness with any bending, and there is usually no mention of pain radiating into the arms or legs.
A herniated disk (see talk) or degenerative arthritis (see talk) in the back are also causes of pain, but the pain actually radiates into the butt or down the leg, and is less common in the low back itself.
If someone is complaining of back pain and they have recently been in an accident, or has back pain and recent fevers, or back pain and a diagnosis of cancer, then doctors are more concerned that something atypical is occurring, and an MRI needs to be ordered urgently. There are other signs and symptoms that suggest an atypical back pain that needs to be investigated more urgently and this is why its important to see a doctor if you experience neurologic symptoms or progressive pain without relieve.
Once the cause of the pain is identified, a treatment plan can be established. Many of the causes are discussed as separate talks. Check out: