Low back pain guide

Low back pain is one of the top reasons that Americans see their doctor. Most Americans, moreover, experience back pain at one time during their life. Many back related injuries happen at work. But, you can change that. There are many things you can do to lower your chances of getting back pain.

I. Back to BasicsStep 1: What is low back pain?Step 2: Know your back anatomyStep 3: Causes of low back painStep 4: Are you at risk?II. First StepsStep 5: What to do when pain beginsStep 6: Seeing your doctorStep 7: What tests might be ordered?Step 8: When is low back pain a serious sign?III. Taking Control: Treatment and PreventionStep 9: Exercise and physical therapyStep 10: Change your work habitsStep 11: MedicationsStep 12: Other treatments

More Information

Exercise: Too much, too little, just right

Drug treatment - NSAIDs

Drug treatment - COX-2 inhibitors

Drug treatment - muscle relaxants

Drug treatment - narcotics

Pain relief - acupuncture

Pain relief - chiropractic therapy

Pain relief - massage

Pain relief - osteopathy

Reducing stress may be a help

What is sciatica?

When is surgery necessary?

Handouts

Exercises to maintain back health

How to lift and bend

How to prevent low back pain

Preparing for your doctor visit

*REFERENCES

Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Avins AL, Erro JH, Ichikawa L, Barlow WE, Delaney K, Hawkes R, Hamilton L, Pressman A, Khalsa PS, Deyo RA. A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med. 2009 May 11;169(9):858-66.

Chou R, Fu R, Carrino JA, Deyo RA. Imaging strategies for low-back pain:systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet. 2009 Feb 7;373(9662):463-72.

Chou R, Huffman LH. Medications for acute and chronic low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians clinical practice guideline. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(7):505-514.

Chou R, Huffman LH. Nonpharmacologic therapies for acute and chronic low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians clinical practice guideline. Ann Intern Med. 147(7):492-504.

Eisenberg DM, Post DE, David RB, et al. Addition of choice of complementary therapies to usual care for acute low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Spine. 2007;32(2):151-8.

Kinkade S. Evaluation and treatment of acute low back pain. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(8):1181-8.

Smeets RJ, Vlaeyen JW, Hidding A, et al. Chronic low back pain: physical training, graded activity with problem solving training, or both? The one-year post-treatment results of a randomized controlled trial. Pain. 2008;134(3):263-276.

Revision

Last reviewed 6/29/2011 by Andrew W. Piasecki, MD, Camden Bone and Joint, LLC, Orthopaedic Surgery/Sports Medicine, Camden, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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