Pain in the lower back or low back pain is a common concern, affecting up to 90% of Americans at some point in their lifetime. Up to 50% will have more than one episode. In up to 85% of people with low back pain, despite a thorough medical examination, no specific cause of the pain can be identified.
Back pain can have many underlying reasons, but often no specific cause will be found and the pain will stop. This chapter tries to touch on many of the causes of back pain and proper evaluation and diagnosis. Please make sure to discuss your individual symptoms as well as the suggested treatments with your health-care provider to determine the appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan for your circumstances.
Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work. It is also one of the most common reasons to visit a doctor's office or a hospital's emergency department.
Doctors usually refer to back pain as acute if it has been present for less than a month and chronic if it lasts for a longer period of time.