GEHA | November 22, 2019
Almost everyone experiences low back pain at some point. The pain can be intense and is one of the top causes for missed work. Fortunately, low back pain often gets better on its own.
Symptoms range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation. Acute back pain comes on suddenly, often after an injury from sports or heavy lifting and lasts a few days to a few weeks. It tends to resolve on its own with self-care, which is why imaging is not recommended within the first month of diagnosis. Prescription-strength pain medication and physical therapy are also suggested. Pain that lasts longer than three months is considered chronic.
Severe back pain after a fall or injury should be checked out by your doctor. Warning signs include loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness, leg weakness, fever and pain when coughing or urinating. Also contact your doctor if you have back pain and a history of cancer, unintentional weight loss, long-term steroid use, weak immune system, or your pain gets worse with rest.
Common causes of low back pain
Back pain due to muscle strain usually gets better on its own. Here are steps you can take to be more comfortable.
Preventing low back pain
“Low Back Pain Fact Sheet.” www.ninds.nih.gov, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December 2014.
“Guide to Low Back Pain.” www.webmd.com, WebMD LLC, 11 December 2017.