Acute Low Back Pain


What is acute low back pain? Acute low back pain is discomfort in your lower back area that lasts for less than 12 weeks. The word acute is used to describe pain that starts suddenly, worsens quickly, and lasts for a short time.

What causes acute low back pain? The cause of acute low back pain may not be known. The pain may come from any part of the lower spine. Any of the following can cause acute low back pain:

What increases my risk for acute low back pain? If you have had acute low back pain before, you are at risk of getting it again. The following factors may also increase your risk:

What are the signs and symptoms of acute low back pain? You may have one or more of the following:

How is acute low back pain diagnosed? Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and examine you. He may ask when you last had low back pain and how it started. Show him where you feel the pain and what makes it feel better or worse. Tell him about the type of pain you have, how bad it is, and how long it lasts. Tell him if your pain worsens at night or when you lie down on your back.

How is acute low back pain treated? The goal of treatment is to relieve your pain and prevent it from returning. Most people with acute lower back pain get better within 6 to 12 weeks. You may need any of the following:

What can I do to prevent low back pain?

When should I contact my healthcare provider? Contact your healthcare provider if:

When should I seek immediate care? Seek care immediately or call 911 if:


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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