Low Back Pain
Low Back Pain
Is this topic for
What is low back pain?
back pain can happen anywhere below the ribs and above the legs.
It is possible to hurt your back when you lift, reach, or twist. In fact,
almost everyone has low back pain at one time or another.
What causes low back pain?
Causes of low back pain
- Overuse, strain, or injury.
- Herniated disc.
- A spine problem you were
Often doctors don't know what causes low back
What are the symptoms?
Depending on the cause, low back pain can cause a range of symptoms. The
pain may be dull or sharp. It may be in one small area or over a broad area.
You may have muscle spasms.
Low back pain can also cause leg symptoms,
such as pain, numbness, or tingling, often extending below the knee.
rare but serious problem called cauda
equina syndrome can occur if the nerves at the end of the spinal
cord are squeezed. Seek emergency treatment if you have weakness or numbness in
both legs or you lose bladder or bowel control.
Most low back pain is
short-term (acute) and will go away in a few weeks. It is more likely to become
long-lasting (chronic) if you are depressed or under
How is low back pain
Your doctor will ask questions about your past health,
symptoms, and activities. He or she will also do a physical exam. Your answers
and the exam can help rule out a serious cause for the pain. In most cases,
doctors are able to recommend treatment after the first exam.
But if you have a back pain problem that has lasted longer than 6 weeks,
or if your doctor thinks you may have more than muscle pain, it might be time
for one of these tests.
How is it
Most low back pain will improve with basic first aid, which
includes continuing to do light activity such as walking, and taking
over-the-counter pain medicine as needed.
Walking is the simplest and
maybe the best exercise for the lower back. It gets your blood moving and helps
your muscles stay strong.
Your doctor or physical therapist can
recommend more specific exercises to help your back muscles get stronger. These
may include a series of simple exercises called
Strengthening the muscles in your trunk can improve your posture, keep your
body in better balance, and lower your chance of injury.
symptoms are severe or you still have symptoms after 2 weeks of self-care, see
your doctor. You may need stronger pain medicines, or you might benefit from
of the various treatments for back pain work for some people but not for
others. You may need to try different things to see which work best for you,
- Spinal manipulation.
Having ongoing (chronic) back pain can make you
depressed. In turn, depression can have an effect on your level of pain and
whether your back gets better. People with depression and chronic pain often
benefit from both antidepressant medicines and counseling. Counseling can help
you learn stress management and pain control skills.
How can you prevent low back pain from returning?
After you've had low back pain, you're likely to have it again. But there
are some things you can do to help prevent it. And they can help you get better
faster if you do have low back pain again.
To help keep your back
healthy and avoid further pain:
- Practice good posture when you sit,
stand, and walk. "Good posture" generally means your ears, shoulders, and hips
are in a straight line.
- Get regular, low-impact exercise. Walk, swim,
or ride a stationary bike. Stretch before you exercise.
- Sleep on your side.
- Watch your weight.
- Don't try to lift things that are too heavy for you.
When you must lift, learn
the right way to lift.
If you sit or stand for long periods at
- Sit or stand up straight, with your shoulders back.
- Make sure your chair fits you and has good back support.
regular breaks to walk around.
If your work involves a lot of
bending, reaching, or lifting:
- Talk to your human resources
department to see if there are other ways you can do your work.
depend on a "back belt" to protect your back.
Frequently Asked Questions
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.
Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.
- Anxiety: Stop Negative Thoughts
- Back Problems: Proper Lifting
- Depression: Stop Negative Thoughts
- Fitness: Increasing Core Stability
- Healthy Eating: Starting a Plan for Change
- Low Back Pain: Exercises to Reduce Pain
- Quitting Smoking: Getting Support
- Stop Negative Thoughts: Getting Started
- Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation
- Stress Management: Doing Guided Imagery to Relax
- Stress Management: Doing Meditation
- Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Stress Management: Managing Your Time
- Stress Management: Practicing Yoga to Relax
- Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and Body
- Weight Management: Stop Negative Thoughts
Often doctors don't know what causes low back
pain. The most common causes of low back pain
- Injury or overuse. This can include
strains of soft tissues
such as ligaments and muscles, fractures or
compression fractures of
bones, or injuries to the small joints between the bones of the spine.
- Pressure on nerve roots from conditions such as a
herniated disc or
- Osteoarthritis, which is
usually caused by getting older.
- When osteoarthritis affects the small
joints in the spine, it can lead to back pain by making the joints themselves
stiff and sore and also by creating pressure on the nerve roots.
- Osteoarthritis in other joints, such as the hips, can cause you to limp or
to change the way you walk. This can also lead to back
- When osteoarthritis affects the small
Less common spinal conditions that can
cause low back pain include:
Symptoms of low back pain depend on the
Back sprain or strain
- Muscle spasms, cramping, and stiffness.
- Pain in
the back and sometimes in the buttock. It may come on quickly or gradually. It
most often occurs in episodes. Certain movements make it worse, and doing light
activities such as walking makes it feel better. The worst pain usually lasts
48 to 72 hours and may be followed by days or weeks of less severe
Symptoms typically include:
- Leg pain. If pain extends
below the knee, it is more likely to be due to pressure on a nerve than to a
muscle problem. Most commonly, it's a pain that starts in the buttock and
travels down the back of the leg as far as the ankle or foot. This pain pattern
is known as sciatica (say "sy-AT-ih-kuh"). For more information, see the topic
- Nerve-related problems, such as tingling, numbness, or weakness in
one leg or in the foot, lower leg, or both legs. Tingling may begin in the
buttock and extend to the ankle or foot. Weakness or numbness in both legs, or
loss of bladder and/or bowel control, are symptoms of
cauda equina syndrome,
which requires immediate medical attention.
Arthritis of the spine
Osteoarthritis of the spine usually
causes pain that:
- Is worse in the back and hip region.
- Starts gradually, gets worse over time, and lasts longer than 3 to 6 months.
- Is generally worse in the morning or after prolonged periods of
inactivity. Arthritis pain gets better when you move
Symptoms of diseases that affect the spine depend on the disease. They may
- Pain that is worse in the affected part of the spine (for
instance, if there is a compression fracture, tumor, or infection).
- Pain that starts gradually, is constant, and may be sharp or a dull ache.
Bed rest doesn't help and may make it worse (for example, tumors on the spine
often cause night pain). The pain lasts longer than 2 to 3 weeks.
- Sensitivity of the spine to touch and pressure.
- Pain that wakes you up from sleep.
The course of low back pain depends both on its cause
and on how well you treat your back.
Most low back pain goes away within
several weeks. But after you have had back pain once, you're more likely to
have it again. Many people who recover have back pain again within a year, and
most people will have it again sometime during their lives.
(chronic) pain not only makes you tired, irritable, and less productive and
less active but also can trigger other problems. If your back pain causes you
to use your body in different ways (for example, to limp or to sit
differently), pain can develop in other areas of the body. Pain can also cause
biochemical changes in your body that tend to keep the pain going.
What Increases Your Risk
A risk factor is something that increases
your chances of having back pain. Having more risk factors means you have a
higher chance of having back pain.
Physical and family
- Being middle-aged or older
- Being male
- Having a family history of back pain
- Having had a back injury
- Being pregnant. A woman's back is significantly stressed by
carrying a baby.
- Having had compression fractures of the
- Having had back surgery before
- Having spine problems
Risk factors you can
change with lifestyle changes
- Not getting regular exercise
- Doing a job or other activity that requires long periods of sitting, heavy
lifting, bending or twisting, repetitive motions, or constant vibration, such
as using a jackhammer or driving certain types of heavy equipment
- Smoking. People who smoke are more likely than people who don't smoke to
have low back pain.
- Being overweight. Excess body weight, especially
around the waist, may put strain on your back, although this has not been
proved. But being overweight often also means being in poor physical condition,
with weaker muscles and less flexibility. These can lead to low back pain.
- Having poor posture.
Slumping or slouching on its own may not cause low back pain. But after the
back has been strained or injured, bad posture can make pain worse. "Good
posture" generally means your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line.
If this posture causes pain, you may have another condition such as a problem
with a disc or bones in your back.
- Being under stress. Stress and other
emotional factors are believed to play a major role in low back pain,
particularly chronic low back pain. Many people unconsciously tighten their
back muscles when they are under stress.
Risk factors you might change with medical treatment
- Having long periods of depression
- Using medicines long-term
that weaken bones, such as corticosteroids
- Having an illness or disease
that causes chronic
When to Call a Doctor
Call 911 or
other emergency services immediately if:
- Back pain occurs with
chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack.
- A person has signs of
damage to the spine after an injury (such as a car accident, fall, or direct
blow to the spine). Signs may include:
- Being unable to move part of the
- Severe back or neck pain.
- Weakness, tingling, or numbness
in the arms or legs.
- Being unable to move part of the
Call your doctor now if:
- You have new numbness in your
legs or numbness in your legs that is getting worse.
- You have new
weakness in your legs or weakness in your legs that is getting worse. (This
could make it hard to stand up.)
- You have a new loss of
bowel or bladder control.
- You have new or increased back pain with fever, painful urination, or other
signs of a urinary tract infection.
- You have long-term back pain that
suddenly gets much worse, and you did not cause it by being more active.
- You have a history of cancer or HIV infection, and you have new or
increased back pain.
- Pain wakes you from sleep.
For more information, see the topic
Back Problems and
back pain doesn't require a visit to a doctor.
If the pain doesn't get
better after 1 or 2 days and you can't do your normal daily activities, call
If you still have mild to moderate
pain after at least 2 weeks of home treatment, talk with your doctor. He or she
may want to check for problems that may be causing your back pain.
Who to see
following health professionals can diagnose the cause of back pain, evaluate
back injuries, and start treatment.
- Primary care providers:
You may also be referred to one of the
- Orthopedic surgeon
- Pain management specialist if low back
pain has lasted for more than 3 months
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
Exams and Tests
Your doctor will begin by asking
questions about your medical history, your symptoms, and your work and physical activities.
He or she will also do a physical exam. The questions and exam can help rule out a serious cause
for your pain. Your doctor may also ask questions about stress at home and at
work that may make you more susceptible to chronic pain.
If your back
pain has lasted for less than 6 weeks, it may be best to wait to do any
testing. This is because most back pain goes away on its own in a month or
But if you have a back pain problem that has lasted longer than 6
weeks, or if your doctor thinks you may have more than muscle pain, it might be
time for a test.
Which tests are used?
for low back pain include:
tests can be useful, such as a bone
scan or an electromyogram
and nerve conduction. These are used to look for bone, nerve,
and muscle/nerve problems that might be causing low back pain.
Experts divide low back pain into two
- Acute: This is pain that has lasted less than 3
months. Most people get better with home treatment.
This is pain that has lasted longer than 3 months. People with chronic back
pain are usually helped with more intensive treatment.
Treatment for acute low back pain
Learn about the
first aid steps you can
take when you first get back pain, such as using heat or ice, taking medicine,
and not resting too much.
If your pain is very
bad, your health care provider may recommend short-term use of a
muscle relaxant. Some
people consider epidural steroid
Answers From an
"Stay as active as you can. Doctors used to say to rest, but
"I thought, 'Okay, it will hurt for a day or two, and
Treatment for chronic low back pain
If you have chronic back pain, one type of treatment by itself doesn't
always stop your pain. Spinal
manipulation can work to relieve low back pain. Other treatments
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Comprehensive rehabilitation
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
If over-the-counter medicines combined with these treatments have not helped, your doctor may recommend another medicine. In some cases an antidepressant such as duloxetine can help. If pain is very bad, your doctor may have you try a week or two of an opioid pain reliever such as tramadol. Be sure to discuss the risks and the possible benefits of all medicines with your doctor.
There is no clear evidence that you can
prevent low back pain. But there are some things you can do that may help
prevent it. And they can prepare you for faster recovery if you do have low
- Exercise to keep your back healthy and
how to lift objects safely to protect your back.
- Think about your posture, whether you are
sitting or standing.
- Try different sleeping
positions that protect your back.
- Wear low-heeled
- Stay at a healthy weight to avoid excess strain on your lower
back. For more information, see the topic
- If you smoke, quit.
- Eat a healthy diet.
To learn more, see
Living With Low
Living With Low Back Pain
Almost everyone has low back pain at some
time. The good news is that most low back pain will go away in a few days or
weeks with some basic self-care. This includes first aid, self-massage and
using heat or ice.
self-care can also help prevent back problems from coming back.
One Man's Story:
"Some people get better fast, but others take a lot of time. That was my
Ease back into your daily activities
Some people are afraid that
doing too much may make their pain worse. In the past, people stayed in bed,
thinking this would help their backs. Now experts think that, in most cases,
getting back to your normal activities is good for your back, as long as you
avoid things that make your pain worse.
- For the first day or two
of pain, take it easy. But
as soon as possible, get back to your normal daily life and activities.
- Movement helps your muscles stay strong. Lying down for too long can make
your problem worse.
- If you are an athlete, return to your activity
carefully. Choose a low-impact option until your pain is under control.
Avoid or change activities that cause pain
- Try to avoid
bending, lifting, or reaching. These movements put extra stress on your back.
- When you sit, place a small pillow, a rolled-up towel, or a lumbar
roll in the curve of your back for extra support.
- When you brush your
teeth, put one foot on a stool.
- Don't wear shoes with high heels. Wear
- Try different sleeping positions.
- If you sleep
on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees.
- If you sleep on
your back, use a pillow under your knees.
- You can also try rolling up
a small towel and using it to support your lower
- If you sleep
Pay attention to your body mechanics and posture
Body mechanics are
the way you use your body. Posture is the way you sit or stand.
prevent a return of low back pain, you will need to take extra care when you
lift. When you must lift, bend your knees and flex from your hips. Don't let
your spine slump.
- Think about your posture, whether you are
sitting or standing.
Slumping or slouching alone may not cause low back pain. But after the back has
been strained or injured, bad posture can make pain worse. "Good posture"
generally means your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. If this
posture causes pain, you may have another condition such as a problem with a
disc or bones in your back.
Stretch and strengthen your back
When you no longer have acute pain,
you may be ready for gentle strengthening exercises for your stomach, back, and
legs, and perhaps for some stretching exercises. Exercise may not only help
decrease low back pain but also may help you recover faster, prevent reinjury
to your back, and reduce the risk of disability from back pain.
is the simplest and perhaps the best exercise for the low back. Your doctor or
a physical therapist can recommend more specific exercises to help your back
muscles get stronger. These may include a series of simple exercises called
core stabilization. The muscles of your trunk, or core, support your spine.
Strengthening these muscles can improve your posture, keep your body in better
balance, and decrease your chance of injury.
"I discovered that what you have to do is this: You do as
Take care of stress
low back pain can create a vicious circle. You have back pain,
and you begin to worry about it. This causes stress, and your back muscles
begin to tense. Tense muscles make your back pain worse, and you worry more ...
which makes your back worse ... and so on.
There are lots of ways to
teach yourself to relax.
- Stress Management: Practicing Yoga to
- Stress Management: Doing Guided
Imagery to Relax
- Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for
- Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle
- Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and
- Stress Management: Managing Your
- Stress Management: Doing
One Woman's Story:
"I had too much to do and too little time.
Manage your weight
Extra body weight, especially around the waist,
may put strain on your back.
If you want to get to a healthy weight and
stay there, lifestyle changes will work better than dieting.
the three steps to reaching a healthy weight:
- Eat a
- You may be tempted to do a diet overhaul and change everything about the
way you eat. But you will be more successful at staying with the changes you
make if you pick just one eating habit at a time to work on.
plenty of calcium and
vitamin D may help prevent
osteoporosis, which can lead to compression fractures and low back
- You may be tempted to do a diet overhaul and change everything about the
moving. Try to make physical activity a regular part of your day, just like
brushing your teeth. Start small, and build up over time. Moderate activity is
safe for most people, but it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before
you start an exercise program.
- Change your thinking. Our
thoughts have a lot to do with how we feel and what we do. If you can stop your
brain from telling you discouraging things and have it start encouraging you
instead, you may be surprised at how much healthier you'll beâ€”in mind and body.
People who smoke take longer to healâ€”from any injury,
not just back pain. If you stop smoking, you may feel better sooner.
People who smoke are also much more likely to have back pain than people who
don't smoke. This is because the nicotine and other toxins from smoking can
keep spinal discs from getting all the nutrients they need from the blood,
making disc injury more likely. These discs cushion the bones in your spine. An
injured disc can cause low back pain.
Smoking also increases your
risk of bone loss (osteoporosis).
Medicine can decrease low back pain and
reduce muscle spasms in some people. But medicine alone isn't an effective
treatment for low back pain. It should be used along with other treatments,
such as walking and using heat or ice.
There are several medicines your doctor may
recommend, depending on how long you have had pain, what other symptoms you
have, and your medical history. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow
all instructions on the label.
The medicines recommended most often
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These seem to be the most effective over-the-counter pain relievers for low back pain. But if you can't take NSAIDs, you can try acetaminophen. You can buy these
medicines without a prescription. Some of them also come in stronger doses. For
those, you'll need a prescription.
- Muscle relaxants. These medicines
can help with severe muscle spasms that happen when the back pain starts (acute phase). Side effects,
such as drowsiness, are common.
- Opioid pain relievers. These are
very strong medicines that are sometimes tried to ease severe back pain
that has not been controlled by other medicines. They are usually taken for
only 1 to 2 weeks.
- Antidepressants. Some of these medicines,
such as duloxetine, not only treat
depression but also may help with chronic pain.
sometimes used for low back pain are:
- Anesthetic or steroid injections.
These have been prescribed for chronic low back pain, but they have not been
researched enough to know if they work well for back pain. They may give
short-term relief from leg pain related to a back problem.
injection. This is a shot into the back muscles. It has not
been well tested for chronic low back pain.
Medicines that work for
some people don't work for others. Let your doctor know if the medicine you are
taking doesn't work for you. You may be able to take another medicine for your
When you're in a lot of pain, you might
wonder if you need surgery to fix what's wrong so that you can feel better.
Every case is different. But most people don't need surgery for low back
When surgery may help
Most back surgeries are done to treat nerve pain from herniated discs. Surgery might be an option when a disc
problem causes pain in your leg that prevents you from doing everyday tasks.
You may have pain, numbness, or tingling through your buttock and down the back
of your leg (sciatica) or
in the front of your thigh.
Other problems that may require surgery
- A spinal fracture caused by an injury.
infection in your spine.
- A problem that causes your spine to be
- A tumor in your spine.
- Spinal stenosis.
- Loss of
feeling or weakness in your back or legs that gets worse over time.
- Loss of control of your bowel or bladder.
Having surgery for a
herniated disc or another back problem is a big decision. Talk to your doctor
There are several types of back surgery. Some, like a
discectomy, can help people who have severe symptoms. Others have not been
proved to work.
If you do need surgery, you and your doctor will decide
which type is best for you. Types of surgeries include:
- Laminectomy for spinal stenosis.
- Kyphoplasty and
- Surgeries for tumors and infection.
Rehabilitation after surgery
A comprehensive rehabilitation program
is very important after most back surgery. As you regain flexibility,
recondition your back and stomach muscles, and increase your endurance for
activity, you increase your chances of treatment success.
If you are
unable or unwilling to commit to physical therapy after surgery, you may not be
a good candidate for surgery.
whether to have surgery
If you and your doctor are considering surgery,
get as much information as you can about possible results, and consider whether
you will be willing to do physical therapy after surgery. It is also a good
idea to get a second
opinion before you decide to have surgery.
surgery isn't always successful. Depending on the condition, you may still have
back pain after surgery.
You can choose from a number of
treatments for your low back pain. Because some of these treatments are new or
not yet well researched, they may not be covered by health insurance.
The following complementary treatments are often used for low back pain.
may reduce low back pain for a short time. It is probably most effective if you also learn to do
exercises for your back and
learn the best ways to lift
and move to protect your back.
hasn't been well studied as a treatment for low back pain. Recent research
hasn't shown that biofeedback is effective for controlling low back pain.
may help reduce pain and increase the ability to be active for a short time
after treatment but not any more than other treatments.footnote 1
- Acupressure uses pressure on certain
points in the body to decrease symptoms. Small studies suggest that acupressure
reduces pain and allows a person to be more active.footnote 2
- Relaxation techniques can help
reduce muscle tension, stress, and depression.
- Yoga is another way to stay
active and get help with relaxation and managing stress. Small studies suggest
that yoga classes may help people with chronic low back pain control their
symptoms and stay more active.footnote 3, footnote 4 It is not
clear whether yoga is more helpful than other activity or treatment for chronic
low back pain. There are different types of yoga. Talk to your doctor before
you start a yoga program.
- Capsaicin cream may help relieve pain.footnote 5 Capsaicin is a substance contained in cayenne peppers. Capsaicin cream is applied directly to the skin over the painful area.
Here are some other treatment choices to
- Self-care techniques:
- Electric currents:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
(TENS) gives brief pulses of electricity to nerve endings in
the skin to relieve pain.
- Spinal cord stimulation uses an
electrical current to treat chronic pain.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
New and experimental treatments are constantly being
developed and offered to people who have low back pain. If you are considering
such a treatment, be sure to ask your doctor for two things:
scientific evidence that shows that the treatment works and is safe.
- The results that your doctor has seen in his or her own practice.
Experimental treatments include:
- Surgery to replace a
ruptured or herniated
disc with an artificial disc. This treatment has been approved
by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Long-term studies haven't been
- Botulinum toxin (Botox)
injection. This may relax painful muscle spasms in the low
- Radiofrequency ablation of
nerves. This may reduce chronic low back pain in some people by
preventing pain signals from reaching the brain. It is sometimes used for pain
from problems with the small joints in the spine called facet joints.
- An intrathecal pain pump. This is a small tube inserted under the skin and
deeper tissues along the midline of the back and into the spinal canal. The
tube connects to a small reservoir of medicine inserted under the skin of your
belly. The medicine is regularly delivered to the area of pain through the
Coping With Chronic Back Pain
Low back pain can take a toll on your
mental health. You may feel fear, frustration, and anger or have depression and
anxiety because of ongoing pain. Those common reactions can make your pain last
even longer. If pain is starting to get you down:
- Let people know
when you need a helping hand. Ask family members or friends to help out with
physical tasks you can't do right now.
- Be honest with your doctor
about your pain. Ask for a referral to a counselor or pain management
specialist. A prescription antidepressant or antianxiety medicine may also help
with chronic pain.
- Work with your health professionals and your work
supervisor to make a return-to-work plan, if needed. Ask for an ergonomic
consultation if you need to learn how to do some of your job duties differently
to avoid hurting your back again.
One Man's Story:
"I started feeling sad and angry a lot. I didn't want to do anything. My
Emotional support is important
You may have to lean on friends and
family when facing difficult situations caused by chronic pain or other
problems. Your loved ones can play an important role in supporting your
recovery. Your doctor and community also may give you extra support.
Asking for support from others is not always easy. It can be hard to tell
someone about your problems. But don't be afraid to ask for help.
you can get support
- Family. Family members can help you cope
by giving you comfort and encouragement.
- Friends. Building
strong relationships with others is important for your emotional well-being.
Helping is a big part of friendship. At times you may be the one who encourages
- Counseling. Professional counseling can help you cope
with situations that interfere with your life and cause stress. Counseling can
help you understand and deal with your pain. You can learn ways to stop
negative thoughts. See the topic
Stop Negative Thoughts: Choosing a
Healthier Way of Thinking.
- Your doctor. Find someone you trust and feel comfortable with. Be
open and honest about your fears and concerns. Your doctor can help you get the
right treatments, including treatment for depression or other problems.
- Religious groups. Religious or spiritual groups may help you meet
people and get involved in the community. Some religious organizations can help
you get counseling or other social support services.
groups. Social groups can help you meet new people and get involved in
activities you enjoy.
- Community support groups. In a
support group, you can talk to others who have dealt with the same problems or
illness as you. You can encourage one another and learn ways of coping with
"I really work at finding the good things in my day. It helps
How friends and
family can help
Your loved ones can offer support by:
- Giving encouragement. This can keep you from feeling hopeless or
- Offering to help. Getting a helping hand can keep you
from feeling overwhelmed. This may include helping with small daily tasks or
- Going to medical visits. Your loved ones can
offer support by being involved in your medical care.
- Being honest
and realistic. Make sure your loved ones understand how serious the problem
is. They can help by not setting unreachable goals or by not acting like the
problem will just go away.
- Respecting your wishes. You are
responsible for your decisions. Your loved ones can offer support and
encouragement without interfering with your major decisions.
Having trouble getting support from
friends and family? There are steps you can take to
make your social support
Having chronic back pain can make exercisingâ€”even
walkingâ€”difficult. Being active is often the last thing you want to think
But the truth is that easing back into daily activity and physical
therapy exercises can help relieve back pain and can lead to long-term
improvement for low back pain.footnote 6
Other Places To Get Help
- Furlan AD, et al. (2005). Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
- Hsieh LL, et al. (2006). Treatment of low back pain by acupressure and physical therapy: Randomised controlled trial. BMJ, 333(7543): 696â€“700.
- Tilbrook HE, et al. (2011). Yoga for chronic low back pain: A randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 155(9): 569â€“578.
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ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofFebruary 23, 2018
Current as of:
February 23, 2018