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:
Lower back pain can be divided according to its duration:
In acute low back pain patients can be counselled that (3):
See "back pain red flags" below for more information regarding possible conditions that require immediate specialist review.
Last edited 12/2020 and last reviewed 01/2021