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Most episodes of back pain last a few days and have completely resolved within a few weeks. If you have new back pain, you should contact your doctor to see if you need further evaluation. There are also a few warning signs that may indicate a problem that needs immediate evaluation:

A few studies suggest that psychosocial factors such as on-the-job stress and dysfunctional family relationships may correlate more closely with back pain than structural abnormalities revealed in X-rays and other medical imaging scans.[18][19][20][21]

The presence of any acute nerve dysfunction should also prompt an immediate visit. These would include the inability to walk or inability to raise or lower your foot at the ankle. Also included would be the inability to raise the big toe upward or walk on your heels or stand on your toes. These might indicate an acute nerve injury or compression. Under certain circumstances, this may be an acute neurosurgical emergency.

Bone scan – a bone scan may be used for detecting bone tumors or compression fractures caused by brittle bones (osteoporosis). The patient receives an injection of a tracer (a radioactive substance) into a vein. The tracer collects in the bones and helps the doctor detect bone problems with the aid of a special camera.

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About 50% of women experience low back pain during pregnancy.[43] Some studies have suggested women who have experienced back pain before pregnancy are at a higher risk of having back pain during pregnancy.[44] It may be severe enough to cause significant pain and disability in up to a third of pregnant women.[45][46] Back pain typically begins at around 18 weeks gestation, and peaks between 24 and 36 weeks gestation.[46] Approximately 16% of women who experienced back pain during pregnancy report continued back pain years after pregnancy, indicating those with significant back pain are at greater risk of back pain following pregnancy.[45][46]

Biomechanical factors of pregnancy shown to be associated with back pain include increased curvature of the lower back, or lumbar lordosis, to support the added weight the abdomen.[46] Also, a hormone called relaxin is released during pregnancy that softens the structural tissues in the pelvis and lower back to prepare for vaginal delivery. This softening and increased flexibility of the ligaments and joints in the lower back can result in pain.[46] Back pain in pregnancy is often accompanied by radicular symptoms, suggested to be caused by the fetus pressing on the sacral plexus and lumbar plexus in the pelvis.[46][44]

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Most reputable spine surgeons will discourage people from surgery when they don’t think it will be helpful, but “You do see some crazy ways that people are treated by high level clinics,”says Hartigan. They neglect to offer people an option to get better, she asserts, which, in her practice, would involve physical rehabilitation and systemically progressive resistance exercises.

The lower portion of the spine, just above the buttocks, naturally curves inward toward the belly (the lordotic curve). A lumbar back support helps promote good posture by simply filling in the gap between the lumbar spine and the seat, supporting the natural inward curve of the lower back.

Treatment for back pain depends on what kind of pain you have, and what is causing it. It may include hot or cold packs, exercise, medicines, injections, complementary treatments, and sometimes surgery.

T-tests (paired and unpaired where appropriate) employing Holm’s method of p-value adjustment were used for all post-hoc pair-wise comparisons following significant ANOVA/ANCOVA results. The R-Project statistical software version 2.12.1 was used for all data analyses (The R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Institut für Statistik und Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie, Vienna, Austria).

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