Chronic Low Back Pain
Why does chronic low back pain happen?
Chronic low back pain is pain in the lower back that has been present for 3 months or longer. There could be many different causes for low back pain including an injury, disease, or some other dysfunction. Often times, it is very difficult to identify the specific cause of the pain. People with chronic low back pain often experience difficulty performing daily activities or work duties.
What are the symptoms of chronic low back pain?
Symptoms of chronic low back pain include pain, lasting 3 months or longer. The type and severity of pain can vary from person to person. It may present as a dull ache, or a sharp stabbing pain. Often time it increases with a change in activity or stress. Other symptoms may include weakness, numbness, tingling, or changes in bowel or bladder control.
How is chronic low back pain diagnosed?
Because there are many different causes of low back pain, your physician will review your medical history and perform a physical examination to help identify possible causes. They may also recommend imaging such as x-ray or MRI to assist in diagnosing your pain.
How is chronic low back pain treated?
Treatment for low back pain includes managing the pain and restoring function. Pain may be managed using medication or injections. Physical therapy is often helpful in restoring strength and motion to improve function. If conservative treatment is ineffective, surgery may be beneficial.
Ask the Expert: Spine Video Series
Dr. Choi treats patients with chronic back pain, and she explains the range of nonsurgical therapies available to relieve pain.