This site is intended for healthcare professionals
General Practice Notebook
Medical search

back pain

FREE subscriptions for doctors and students... click here
You have 3 open access pages.

Lower back pain is pain which occurs between the bottom of the rib cage and the buttock creases with or without pain in the upper legs (1).

Back pain is the largest single cause of lost working hours amongst both manual and sedentary workers; in the former, such as miners, dockers and nurses, it is an important cause of disability.

Although most people get back pain, and although there are a large number of possible causes, a precise diagnosis is made in only a few cases.

The recommended approach includes:

  • take a good history and examine the patient well
  • avoid over-investigation
  • remember the rare, but deadly, causes of pain such as aortic aneurysm or myelomatosis

Lower back pain can be divided according to its duration:

  • acute (<6 weeks)
  • sub-acute (6 weeks-12 weeks)
  • chronic (>12 weeks) (1)
Such a rigid categorization might not be useful in practice since symptoms in patients may wax and wane (1).

In acute low back pain patients can be counselled that (3):

  • prognosis for relief of pain and returning to normal activities is favourable - most patients who are initially off work, return to work within 1 month
  • most of the patients who do not return to work within 1 month will return to work within 6 months
  • however note that residual symptoms and recurrences are common

Reference:

Links:

General Practice Notebook
General Practice Notebook
The information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Copyright 2016 Oxbridge Solutions LtdĀ®. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions LtdĀ® receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence. GPnotebook stores small data files on your computer called cookies so that we can recognise you and provide you with the best service. If you do not want to receive cookies please do not use GPnotebook.