Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain Description
Back Pain is an extremely common condition.   80% of people will experience low back pain in their lifetime and 56% of people will have it at some point every year.  Low back problems are common in all age groups, races and nationalities.  Low back pain is the most common cause for lost time from work for people younger than 45 years old.  In the United States total direct and indirect costs related to low back pain is estimated to exceed 100 billion dollars per year.  In summary, “The prevalence of low back pain in adulthood is so high that it should be considered a part of normal life experience in most individuals.”1

 The US Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that chronic low back pain limits the activity of nearly 1/3 of the population to some degree at any given point in time. Low back pain is often recurrent.  At any given time more than 1% of the US population is considered permanently disabled by low back pain and another 1% is considered temporarily disabled.  Back pain may be the result of many different medical conditions including acute muscular strain, vertebral fracture, intervertebral disc injury or degeneration, spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, instability, or arthritis in the lumbar spine.  

Low Back Pain Anatomy
Low Back Pain is

Low Back Pain Symptoms
Low Back Pain causes pain and swelling in the

Low Back Pain Treatment 
Back Pain is diagnosed based on a detailed history, physical exam and xrays performed by an orthopaedic surgeon, or sports medicine specialist.   Low back pain generally resolves in 4-8 weeks regardless of treatment.  Treatment options include brief periods of rest, activity modification, heat therapy, nonnarcotic pain medications.  Low back pain tends to recur frequently, but the odds of recovery from any given episode of low back pain and good.  Low back pain is the leading cause of time lost from work.  People that recover from low back pain typically have lower worker reported stress levels and increased leisure time exercise. People with obesity and cigarette smokers are less likely to recover.

Athletes returning to sports after Back Pain should begin with a graduated exercise program.  First they should be pain free with daily activities with full range of motion and at least 85% strength in the injured extremity compared to the uninjured extremity.  Exercise begins with light jogging in a  straight line, followed by sprinting in a straight line.  When these have been done without pain the athlete can proceed to doing agility type drills such as 45º cuts, 90º cuts and jumping.  Agility drills should begin at half-speed and proceed to full-speed provided the athlete remains pain free.

Low Back Pain Prevention
Prevention of Back Pain is mainly related to a persons lifestyle.  What can you do to decrease your risk of recurrence and get over a period of back pain?  Stop smoking.  It's related to chronic low back pain, failed back surgeries, disability and overall just unhappy folks.  Get a job you like.  Job dissatisfaction has been repeatedly associated with low back pain.  Smile more, Depression is linked to low back pain. 

Regular exercise and higher levels of walking or running have demonstrated decreased rates of back problems. Most exercise is protective of back problems other than certain sports such as gymnastics, football, and weightlifting. Overall higher levels of physical fitness provides decreased levels of back problems. Obesity and being overweight has been associated with low back pain as well as increased duration of low back pain.

Low Back Pain Risk Factors
Risk factors for low back pain include: heavy lifting, repetitive or sustained bending, sustained sitting, cigarette smoking, anxiety, depression.  Prolonged car or truck driving and vibration exposure may be risks factors.  Back Pain is also associated the following sports: Baseball; Basketball; Boxing; Cycling; Dance; Diving; Equestrian Sports; Figure Skating; Football; Golf; Gymnastics; Hockey; RowingRugby; Running; Skiing; Snowboarding; Soccer; Swimming; Tennis; VolleyballWeight Lifting; Wrestling.It is especially common in football, and gymnastics. It is more common in athletes who are poorly conditioned and do not adequately warm-up prior to their sporting activities.  

Low Back Pain Rehab and Exercise Program
Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain Outcomes
Low Back Pain

Similar injuries that can be confused with Low Back Pain include:

1-Jenis LG editor, Low Back Pain monograph, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2005. ISBN 0-89203-374-6.

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