Back Pain

elderly man walking with his daughter

What is low back pain?

Pain in the low back (waistline or below) is a very common problem and affects 80 percent of Americans at some time in their lives. Back pain is one of the most frequent reasons people seek medical care.

It is important to remember that back pain is a symptom. Common cause of back pain include nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis. However, pain arising from other organs may be felt in the back. Other medical conditions, such as appendicitis, kidney diseases, pelvic infections, and ovarian disorders, among others, can cause low back pain.

Most of the time, back pain is relatively minor, and 80 percent of episodes of acute low back pain will resolve within six weeks, regardless of whether you seek treatment or not. However, the following symptoms and warning signs may suggest a more serious condition and should be evaluated by a professional.

Seek medical attention if the pain:

  1. Extends down your leg
  2. Increases when you lift your knee to your chest or bend over
  3. Follows a recent fall or trauma
  4. Lasts more than three weeks
  5. Becomes worse when you rest, wakes you up at night, or is associated with a fever
  6. Is associated with bladder or bowel problems
  7. Is associated with numbness or weakness in your legs