Low back pain is a common medical condition that refers to pain or discomfort in the lumbar region, which is the lower part of the back between the rib cage and the pelvis. Low back pain can range from mild, intermittent discomfort to severe, constant pain that affects daily activities.
There are many different causes of low back pain, including poor posture, muscle strain or sprain, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, and sciatica. Other factors that can contribute to low back pain include obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, and poor diet.
The symptoms of low back pain can vary depending on the underlying cause. Some common symptoms include:
- Pain that is dull or achy
- Pain that is sharp or shooting
- Stiffness or limited mobility
- Muscle spasms or tightness
- Tingling or numbness in the legs or feet
- Weakness in the legs or feet
- Difficulty standing or sitting for extended periods
To diagnose low back pain, a doctor may perform a physical exam, review the patient’s medical history, and order imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. Treatment for low back pain depends on the underlying cause and may include rest, physical therapy, medications, injections, or surgery.
Prevention of low back pain involves maintaining good posture, engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and avoiding prolonged sitting or standing.