Approximately 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common medical problems. The severity of back pain can vary considerably, from a constant dull throb to sharp sudden pain. Sometimes, the back pain can radiate into your legs. Back pain is considered acute if its onset is fairly sudden but goes away within a few days or within 3-4 weeks. Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts for more than a few months.
- Significant back pain lasting more than 3 weeks
- Pain in the lower back extending down your leg
- Leg pain increasing if you attempt to bend over
- Numbness and/or weakness in your legs during walking or other activity
- Pain that becomes worse during rest or wakes you up at night
- Back pain following a recent fall or injury
- Persistent bowel or bladder problems
Who is at risk?
Although 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, certain factors will affect a person’s risk level. People over 40 are more likely to experience back pain, as it becomes more common with age as disk degeneration takes place. Factors such as fitness level, diet, stress, and family history may also play a role in the development or persistence of back pain.
Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen taken for a few days will typically relieve symptoms of back pain. Sleeping with a pillow between or under the knees may also help ameliorate back pain.
Although no specific back exercise is proven to be effective in helping instances of back pain, a regular exercise program that emphasizes stretching, proper posture, and core strengthening can be very effective in treating patients with chronic back pain.
When should I see a doctor?
- If you have experienced recent trauma such as a fall or car accident
- If your lower back pain is worse at rest or awakens you from sleep, as it may be indicative of an infectious or neoplastic process
- If you have recently experienced an infection
- If you have a history of prolonged steroid use
Treatment for back pain is available now at Newport Urgent Care in Newport Beach, CA.
For more information on back pain, see the following websites:
MayoClinic.com Back Pain page
Medline Plus (NIH) Back Pain page
Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of NewportUrgentCare.com. The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.