• Almost everyone has back pain at some time in their life. In fact, it is the #2 reason why Americans see the doctor.
  • The low back is the most common area to be affected by pain. This is because the low back supports the weight of your head, trunk, and arms.
  • Along with your low back pain, you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your legs or feet. If you do, you should notify your doctor.
  • A single, sudden movement may lead to the feeling of pain. However, this pain may be a result of poor posture, such as using improper form while standing, sitting, lifting, or other activities. The specific cause of back pain is usually not identified.
  • Lots of people have spine problems, like bulging disks. But not everyone experiences pain from them.
  • Most episodes of low back pain start to improve within one week and clear up within four to 6 weeks.
  • Your doctor may consider ordering tests or sending you to a specialist if you have certain warning signs or if your pain lasts longer than 1 month.
  • Getting back pain more than once (called recurrent pain) is common. But there are lots of steps you can take to avoid getting back pain again.
  • Back pain becomes more likely as you get older. But exercise, good posture, and proper movements for bending and lifting can help prevent back pain, no matter what your age.
  • Stress and depression make you more likely to experience long-term, ongoing back pain. Learning to relax can help reduce your chances for back pain.
  • Jobs that involve heavy lifting, lots of bending, and whole body vibration (like truck driving) can raise your chances of getting back pain. There are lots of ways to adjust these activities, if they are part of your job description. If you take such steps, you can avoid back pain.
  • Lose weight and quit smoking to lower your chances of getting back pain.
  • Bed rest is NOT recommended if you have back pain. Reduced activity level is only recommended for the first couple of days.
  • Avoid exercise in the days immediately after your back pain begins. After 2 - 3 weeks, gradually resume exercise. Getting back to every day activities starts just after a few days.
  • Working with a physical therapist can be very helpful, especially if your pain lasts longer than 2 - 3 weeks.

 

Main Menu


Review Date: 4/6/2007

Reviewed By: Benjamin D. Roye, M.D., M.P.H., Orthopaedic Surgery, The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

Related Links
Find an Orthopaedic Surgeon
Request an Appointment Online or call
1-800-789-PENN (7366)
Penn Orthopaedics
Encyclopedia Articles about Bones and Joints

 

   
   

 

About Penn Medicine   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania space