Backache; Low back pain; Lumbar pain; Pain - back; Acute back pain; Back pain - new; Back pain - short-term
You may feel a variety of symptoms if you've hurt your back. You may have a tingling or burning sensation, a dull achy feeling, or sharp pain. Depending on the cause, you also may have weakness in your legs or feet.
Low back pain can vary widely. The pain may be mild, or it can be so severe that you are unable to move.
Depending on the cause of your back pain, you may also have pain in your leg, hip, or bottom of your foot. See:
Signs and tests
When you first see your doctor, you will be asked questions about your back pain, including how often it occurs and how severe it is. Your doctor will try to determine the cause of your back pain and whether it is likely to quickly get better with simple measures such as ice, mild painkillers, physical therapy, and proper exercises. Most of the time, back pain will get better using these approaches.
Questions will include:
- Is your pain on one side only or both sides?
- What does the pain feel like? Is it dull, sharp, throbbing, or burning?
- Is this the first time you have had back pain?
- When did the pain begin? Did it start suddenly?
- Did you have a particular injury or accident?
- What were you doing just before the pain began? Were you lifting or bending? Sitting at your computer? Driving a long distance?
- If you have had back pain before, is this pain similar or different? In what way is it different?
- Do you know the cause of previous episodes of back pain?
- How long does each episode of back pain usually last?
- Do you feel the pain anywhere other than your back, like your hip, thigh, leg or feet?
- Do you have any numbness or tingling? Any weakness or loss of function in your leg or elsewhere?
- What makes the pain worse? Lifting, twisting, standing, or sitting for long periods of time?
- What makes you feel better?
- Are there any other symptoms present? Weight loss? Fever? Change in urination? Change in bowel habits?