URL of this page: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/backpain.html

Back Pain

Also called: Backache, Lumbago 

Summary

If you've ever groaned, "Oh, my aching back!", you are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Back pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months.

Most back pain goes away on its own, though it may take awhile. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and resting can help. However, staying in bed for more than 1 or 2 days can make it worse.

If your back pain is severe or doesn't improve after three days, you should call your health care provider. You should also get medical attention if you have back pain following an injury.

Treatment for back pain depends on what kind of pain you have, and what is causing it. It may include hot or cold packs, exercise, medicines, injections, complementary treatments, and sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Start Here

  • Back Pain (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • Back Pain From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
  • Back Pain From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
  • Low Back Pain (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
  • Low Back Pain From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Available in Spanish
  • What Is Back Pain? From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) Available in Spanish

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