Low back pain is an ache or discomfort in the area of the lower part of the back and spinal column. The lower spinal column consists of many small bones that surround and protect the spinal cord and nerves. Low back pain is very common, affecting most adults at some point in their lives.
Pain is usually localized in the low back. It may worsen with sitting, standing, bending, or twisting. If a nerve is irritated, the pain may extend into the buttock or leg on the affected side, and muscle weakness or numbness may be present.
More serious symptoms associated with back pain that may require immediate medical attention include:
- Pain that is severe or that has gotten dramatically worse
- Progressive weakness in a leg or foot
- Difficulty walking, standing, or moving
- Numbness in the genital or rectal area
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Difficulty with urination
- Fever, unexplained weight loss, or other signs of illness
- Pain that awakes you from sleep at night
Pain that doesn’t improve or worsens with rest (even at night) may be an indication of a more serious disease. Please tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.