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Low Back Pain

Men and women are equally affected by low back pain, which can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation. Most low back pain is acute (short-term) and lasts a few days to a few weeks, and will resolve on its own with self-care. It is usually caused by a problem in how the components of the back (spine, muscle, intervertebral discs, and nerves) fit together and move. Chronic back pain is pain for 12 weeks or longer, even after acute low back pain has been treated.

Low back pain is often preventable by avoiding movements that jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly. A complete medical history and physical exam by your doctor can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Imaging tests are not necessary in most cases.

For more information: www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet