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Lower Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Pain in the lower back is a common concern.  By one account, at any given time one in every three people are experiencing some form of back pain.  And up to 80% of Americans at some point in their life will be affecting by this condition.

  • Low back pain is second only to fever as a cause of lost days at work.  It is also one of the most common reasons to visit a doctor or an emergency room.  It is the second most common Neurologic complaint in America, second only to headache.
  •  Doctors usually categorize back pain that has been present for less than a month as acute, and chronic if it lasts for a longer period of time.
  • Not all low back pains are the same.  Some get worse with physical activity, others are worsened by sitting for a prolonged period of time.
Low back pain is not a cause but a symptom
Common causes are disease or injury to the muscles, bones, and/or nerves of the spine.  Pain from other areas of the body such as abdomen. pelvis, or chest might be felt in the lower back area.


When to seek medical care for back pain?
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has identified 11 red flags that should be evaluated when examining a person with back pain.  The red flags are listed below:

  1. Recent significant trauma such as a fall from a height, motor vehicle accident, or similar incident
  2. Recent mild trauma in those older than 50 years of age: A fall down a few steps or slipping and landing on the buttocks may be considered mild trauma.
  3. History of prolonged steroid use: People with asthma, COPD, and rheumatic disorders, for example, may be given this type of medication.
  4. Anyone with a history of osteoporosis: An elderly woman with a history of a hip fracture, for example, would be considered high risk.
  5. Any person older than 70 years of age: There is an increased incidence of cancer, infections, and abdominal causes of the pain.
  6. Prior history of cancer
  7. History of a recent infection
  8. Temperature over 100 F
  9. IV drug use: Such behavior markedly increases risk of an infectious cause.
  10. Low back pain worse at rest: This is thought to be associated with an infectious or malignant cause of pain but can also occur with ankylosing spondylitis.
  11. Unexplained weight loss


Back Pain Treatment
Most back pain will go away in about a month.  If you have been experiencing this condition for more than a month, we strongly recommend that you visit your physician, Physical Therapist, an other professionals who can evaluate your unique conditions and work with you to create a recover plan tailored to your underlying causes, conditions, and medical history