We have all experienced it, the aches, the twinges, the spasms. Lower back pain can be described in many ways, but it is always painful and frustrating. Back pain can come in a myriad of forms, from a simple strain or sprain to a more long-term condition such as scoliosis or osteoarthritis.

However, by working with an experienced primary care provider or back specialist you can determine the cause of your lower back pain and develop a treatment plan to regain pain-free movement.


Symptoms of lower back conditions are different depending on the cause, and may range from a dull ache to a sharp pain. For strains, sprains, or more muscular-related issues you may experience spasms, muscle cramping, or soreness and stiffness. Whether the pain comes on quickly or over the course of a few days, it will usually peak for a day or so before lessening again.

Pain that is rooted in the nerves may extend down into the leg and even the foot, and is commonly referred to as sciatic pain. Nerve-related back pain can also include tingling, feeling numb, or bouts of weakness. Lower back pain can also be a symptom of arthritis, specifically arthritis of the spine. This pain impacts the skeletal structure of the back, specifically the vertebrae and joints. In some cases, back pain can also make your body sensitive to the touch.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Depending on the root cause of the pain, your doctor and caregiving team will develop a treatment plan that works for you, and most likely will use a combination of therapeutic activities and medications. If they suspect that there are more complex issues, an X-ray or MRI may be used to diagnosis the condition further.

Your provider may advise movements or exercises to help relieve pain and tension, such as walking or stretching. When possible, remain active and resist the temptation to remain in bed. However, some physical exertions can actually exacerbate the pain, so it is important to consult with an experience healthcare provider before trying any exercise to reduce your lower back pain.

Preventing Lower Back Pain

While injuries can occur despite how careful we are, we can help to reduce our risk of developing lower back pain through staying active and exercising, properly warming up and stretching, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

© 2018 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved. The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.