If the pain in your lower back persists for more than three months, you may have chronic low back pain. Dr Tan Kian Hian from Singapore General Hospital provides more facts.
Acute low back pain
Acute low back pain is pain felt in the lower back that lasts for less than three months. Most people experience pain in their lower back at certain stages of their lives. In most cases, it will get better in several weeks even without treatment. However, this varies from person to person. Such a pain may happen again over time and may progress to chronic low back pain, which is back pain that persists for more than three months.
Causes of low back pain
Most of the time the low back pain is due to muscle strain. It is rare for the pain to be caused by a serious medical problem. In about 95 per cent of the cases, the pain can be managed effectively even when the specific cause is unknown. In fact, 90 per cent of patients recover within six weeks.
What should I do when I have low back pain?
If your low back pain bothers you, it is important to see your doctor, and work with him or her to manage your pain. Medical history and physical examination are needed to check for any serious medical condition that may be associated with your low back pain, although this is rare. Additional investigations such as x-rays and blood tests are not needed in the majority of cases of acute low back pain. Such tests do not help with your pain or your ability to move your back.
It is normal to worry about the cause of your low back pain and the impact it may have on you. Talking to your doctor or specialist about your concerns can be helpful. You will usually find that there is no serious cause and that there are ways to relieve your symptoms. The goal of the consultation is to help you find ways to manage your low back pain and return to your usual activities.
Anyway, most people find that the pain eases off over a short period of time as healing occurs. Pain-relieving measures can help you cope with your symptoms while nature takes its course. For example, your doctor can prescribe you medications like paracetamol, anti-inflammatory medicine, and muscle relaxants.
Staying active helps to prevent long-term problems. Your low back pain may make it difficult for you to carry out your usual activities, and you may even want to rest completely. However, it is important to resume normal activities as soon as possible.
Learn about the various treatment options for low back pain.