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Facts About Lower Back Pain

Back to 2003 Curriculum. 

What is Low Back Pain (LBP)?

LBP can be the result of many different things going wrong. Most commonly, LBP results from muscles that do not work correctly. LBP is usually self-limiting, which means that most cases of LBP get better all by themselves, usually within a month, whether you get treated or not. The goal of treatment should be to speed your recovery and to prevent or lessen the impact of future episodes. If your LBP is not getting better, your doctor may recommend special tests to discover the reason for your LBP.

Can LBP be prevented?

Yes. Studies have shown that a carefully designed exercise program can reduce the incidence of LBP by up to 60%. Your physical therapist can provide more information on a spine stabilization exercise program tailored to your particular needs.

What can I do if I have LBP? There is no reason to be afraid of LBP. We know that 80% of the population will experience at least one disabling incident of LBP during their lives. If you get LBP you should try to be as active as you can, comfortably. Most of the time, there is no advantage to staying in bed and resting. After treatment, your physical therapist may give you some things to try at home to reduce your discomfort and get you moving comfortably again.

How is LBP treated?

Because LBP is a complex problem, there are many treatment approaches available, including drugs like muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories, heat, cold, manual therapy, exercise, and some less common things like acupuncture. The scientific evidence suggests that early hands-on treatment followed by a personalized exercise program is the most effective treatment approach.