Back Pain

Back Pain (Lumbago)

80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common medical problems. Back pain covers an extensive range, from constant dull throbs to sharp sudden pain, and can cause pain in your legs. Back pain is considered acute if its occurrence is sudden and it goes away within a few days or a few weeks. Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts for more than a few months.


  • Significant back pain lasting more than 3 weeks
  • Pain in the lower back extending down your leg
  • Leg pain increasing if you lift your knee to your chest or try to bend over
  • Numbness and/or weakness in your legs during walking or other activity
  • Pain that becomes worse during rest or wakes you up at night
  • Back pain following a recent fall or injury
  • Persistent bowel or bladder problems

Who is at risk?

Although 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, certain factors will affect a person’s risk level. People over 40 are more likely to experience back pain, as it becomes more common with age. Factors such as fitness level, diet, and heredity may also affect stress levels on the back or spinal discs. An X-ray may determine if you have arthritis of your back or a more serious condition.

Other medical conditions may present with back pain that have nothing to do with the muscle and bones of the back, eg. Kidney stones or pneumonia.

Treatment of Condition

Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen taken for a few days will typically relieve symptoms of back pain. Your doctor can prescribe a muscle relaxer or other medications to help.

Sleeping with a pillow between or under the knees may help comfort symptoms of back pain

Although no specific back exercise is proven to be effective in helping instances of back pain, regular exercise may help those with chronic back pain manage their pain. Seeing a chiropractor or having a doctor prescribe Physical Therapy may be another option.

When should I see a doctor?

  • If you have experienced recent trauma such as a fall or car accident, seek medical attention immediately.
  • If your back pain has associated neurolic symptoms like numbness and weakness in your legs, or incontinence
  • If your lower back pain is worse at rest; it may be indicative of infectious or malignant causes of pain.
  • If you have recently experienced an infection.
  • If you have a history of prolonged steroid use

Treatment for back pain is available now at Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Mountain Lakes, NJ.

For more information on back pain, see the following websites: Back Pain page

Medline Plus (NIH) Back Pain page

North American Spine Society

Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.