Few people escape the problem of low back pain (LBP) which may well be an inevitable result of man's unnatural ability to stand erect. Often experienced as a sudden, sharp, persistent, or dull pain felt below the waist, LBP is most commonly caused by muscle strain, whether from heavy physical work, lifting or forceful movement, bending or twisting, awkward positions, or standing in one position too long. Other conditions that can cause low back pain include spinal stenosis, arthritis (osteoarthritis), spinal infection (osteomyelitis), spinal tumors (benign and malignant), spondylolisthesis and vertebral fractures e.g. burst fracture.
Low back pain is either acute or chronic. Acute LBP may begin suddenly with intense pain usually lasting less than 3 months. Chronic pain is a persistent long-term pain, sometimes lasting throughout life. Even chronic pain may present episodes of acute pain.
Other symptoms include localized pain in a specific area of the low back, general aching and/or pain that radiates into the low back, buttocks, and leg/s. Sometimes pain is accompanied by neurologic symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness.
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