Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Most people have back pain at least once.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of back pain can include:
When to see a doctor?
Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment and self-care, usually within a few weeks. If yours doesn't improve in that time, see your doctor.
Contact our doctors if your back pain:
Also, see your doctor if you start having back pain for the first time after age 50, or if you have a history of cancer, osteoporosis, steroid use, or excessive drug or alcohol use.
One side back pain
The pain may come on suddenly, as a sharp stitch on the left side of your back. Or it may throb to life on your right or left side.
Injuries to the spinal structures can happen in the muscles, discs, or joints, and make up the most common cause of back pain on just one side. They often occur after minor injuries or from an impact in sports or a car accident.
What is the anatomy of the low back?
To understand various causes of low back pain, it is important to appreciate the normal design (anatomy) of the tissues of this area of the body. Important structures of the low back that can be related to symptoms in this region include the bony lumbar spine (vertebrae, singular = vertebra), discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
What is the function of the low back?
The low back, or lumbar spine, serves a number of important functions for the body. These functions include structural support, movement, and protection of certain body tissues and nerves.
Most common causes of lower back pain
Common causes of low back pain (lumbar backache) include lumbar strain, nerve irritation, or sciatica, bony encroachment, and conditions of the bone and joints. Each of these is reviewed below.