ZocdocAnswersWhat causes my everyday lower back pain?

Question

What causes my everyday lower back pain?

I am a 24 year old father of 3, working full-time as skilled labor, doing hard work. For the past several years, I have woken up with agonizing back pain, that last most of the day. The pain gets worse if i'm standing still or sitting slightly bent for any period of time. The pain gets unbearable, when i'm standing having to hold anything more than about 20 pounds for more than a few min. What do I do?

Answer

Lower back pain is a very common complaint encountered in the outpatient setting. More than 90 percent of the time, this pain is considered musculoskeletal, i.e. it is due to a strain of some muscle or ligament in that area. While this pain can be very severe and even disabling at first, the vast majority heal with conservative treatment within a few weeks. For pain that persists longer than 6-8 weeks, it is generally recommended that imaging studies be conducted to obtain more information. If your pain has been going on for several years, then you should certainly see your primary care physician for further work-up. If you have suffered some form of trauma in the past, then you may have done some permanent damage to one of the structures in the lower back. You could also be suffering from an inflammatory process affecting the joints of the lower back (both within the spine and in the sacroiliac joints that connect your spine to the pelvis). If your primary care physician cannot determine the cause of your pain, then he/she may elect to refer you to a rheumatologist for further work-up and treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.