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Acute and chronic low back pain

Cause
Back pain can result from several pathologies. It's mainly caused by:
  • Muscle strains or sprains
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs, also known as lumbar disc herniation or slipped discs
  • Lumbar spondylosis
  • Spondylolisthesis, also known as slipped vertebrae

In a small number of cases, the pain may be caused by:
  • Spinal fractures resulting from high- or low-energy trauma
  • Spinal infections
  • Spinal tumors
Pain severity can range from mild to severe. It is important to note if there are any symptoms of nerve compression such as hip pain radiating down the leg, numbness, or weakness. Additionally, any "red flag" symptoms like fever, anorexia, weight loss, or nocturnal pain (pain that awakens you from sleep) should not be ignored.
Investigations may include:
  • Plain X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), if indicated
Treatment strategies depend on the underlying causes of back pain. They typically include:
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery, when necessary

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