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Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work. It is often caused by injuries to the back or as a result of a disorder such as arthritis. Symptoms include shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility, and an inability to stand straight. Fortunately, most cases of lower back pain go away within a few days.
If you have lower back pain, you are not alone. Nearly everyone at some point will have lower back pain that interferes with work, routine daily activities, or recreation. Americans spend at least 50 billion dollars each year on lower back pain relief.
Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work. Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment (after headaches) in the United States. Fortunately, most occurrences of lower back pain will go away within a few days.
Types of Lower Back Pain
Acute, or short-term, low back pain generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute back pain is mechanical in nature, which means that it is the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by:
- A sports injury
- Work around the house or in the garden
- A sudden jolt, such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues.
Symptoms of lower back pain can range from:
- Muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain
- Limited flexibility and/or range of motion
- An inability to stand up straight.
Occasionally, pain felt in one part of the body may "radiate" from a disorder or injury elsewhere in the body. Some acute pain syndromes can become more serious if left untreated.
Chronic back pain is measured by duration. Pain that persists for more than three months is considered chronic. Chronic lower back pain is often progressive, and the cause can be difficult to determine.