Back pain (Low Back Pain) is pain felt in the lower back that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. It is a common complaint. Most people can experience low back pain a minimum of once throughout their lives. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.
Men and women are equally affected. It happens most frequently between ages 30 and 50, due in part to the aging process but also as a result of sedentary life styles with too little (sometimes punctuated by too much) exercise. The risk of experiencing low back pain from disc illness or spinal degeneration will increase with age.
Back pain could have a sudden onset or may be a chronic pain; it may be constant or intermittent, stay in one place or radiate to other areas. It may be a dull ache, or a sharp or piercing or burning sensation. The pain may radiate into the legs or feet, and may include symptoms other than pain. These symptoms may include tingling, weakness or numbness.
Acute or short low back pain typically lasts from some days to some weeks. Most acute back pain is mechanical in nature the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder like arthritis. Pain from trauma could also be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues. Symptoms could vary from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and/or range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. Occasionally, pain felt in one part of the body may “radiate” from a disorder or injury elsewhere in the body. Some acute pain syndromes will become additional serious if left untreated.
Symptoms of back pain may include: