Back Pain

Disponible En Espanol


  • Pain in your upper, middle, or lower back

Some Basics...

  • Lower back pain is a reason that many people go to the doctor and emergency rooms. It is a common reason for people to miss work. More than 8 out of 10 people have back pain in their lives.
  • In most cases, the cause of lower back pain is not serious.
  • For most people, severe pain does not always mean that there is a serious problem. In fact, a person can have severe back pain from minor problems like lumbar (muscle) strain and arthritis.
  • Without treatment, the pain usually gets better within 4-6 weeks. Treatment can help the pain to go away faster. Bed rest is not a good way to treat back pain.

Common Causes

  • Arthritis
  • Herniated disk
  • Lumbar strain
  • Kidney infection
  • Kidney stone
  • Spine fracture
  • Spinal tumor

What is Lumbar Strain?

  • Muscle strain is a common cause of new lower back pain in people 18-50 years old.
  • People with muscle strain say their pain is made worse by bending or twisting. They also note that their back muscles are tender to touch.
  • A person can strain his or her back by lifting something too heavy. This can also happen by bending or twisting the back in an awkward way.

Does Bed Rest Help?

  • People with back pain do not need to stay in bed.
  • Keep doing day-to-day activities if it is not too painful. This may help the back get better faster. Staying active is healthier than too much rest.

Pain Scale

  • None: No pain. Pain score is 0 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Mild: The pain does not keep you from work, school, or other normal activities. Pain score is 1-3 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Moderate: The pain keeps you from working or going to school. It wakes you up from sleep. Pain score is 4-7 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Severe: The pain is very bad. It may be worse than any pain you have had before. It keeps you from doing any normal activities. Pain score is 8-10 on a scale of 0 to 10.


The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Adult HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Adult HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Adult HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your doctor.
    • Your doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • You could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If you are taking medications, they could influence how you experience various symptoms.

If you think that you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!

And when in doubt, call your doctor NOW or go to the closest emergency department.

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