What is acute low back pain?
Acute low back pain is pain in the lower back that has been present for six weeks or less. Low back pain is a common condition and most people experience it at some point during their lives. Low back pain can be debilitating and greatly affect a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
What are the symptoms of acute low back pain?
Symptoms of low back pain can vary, both in type and severity. In some cases they appear suddenly, while in other cases they develop over time.
Common symptoms of acute low back pain include:
- Pain, which can range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation
- Localized pain (in a specific spot) or generalized pain (across the low back area)
- Stiffness or weakness
- Numbness or tingling
- Changes in bowel or bladder function
What causes acute low back pain?
It is often difficult to identify the exact cause of acute low back pain. Common causes include:
- Injury or trauma, such as muscle strains or ligament sprains
- Other damage to the tissues of the low back
- Disease, such as osteoporosis or cancer
How is acute low back pain diagnosed?
To diagnose acute low back pain, your physician will review your medical history and perform a physical examination to help identify possible causes. Your doctor may also recommend diagnostic imaging, such as an X-ray or MRI, to assist in diagnosing your pain.
How is acute low back pain treated nonsurgically?
Treatment for acute low back pain focuses on managing the pain and restoring function with conservative care.
Nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Physical therapy
- Self-care, including gentle movement, application of heat or cold, and massage
What surgical treatment options are available for acute low back pain?
Most patients find relief from acute low back pain without surgery. If nonsurgical treatments are not helping, your physician may recommend surgery, depending on what is causing your low back pain.
Conditions that may cause acute low back pain and respond well to surgery include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Synovial cysts
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise
Summit’s spine care team is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.
Start your journey to a healthy spine. Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968-5201 to schedule a spine consultation.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.