Welcome Understanding and preventing lower back pain Members!
Welcome Members!

Understanding and preventing lower back pain

Back pain is an ongoing problem associated with the spine, nerves, discs and muscles and is one of the major reasons people miss work. Of all types of back pain, lower back pain is the most common.

Men and women are equally affected by lower back pain, which can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person with very limited movement. Back pain can show up as a result of an accident, by lifting something the wrong way or by lifting something too heavy. It can also develop over time in a person with an inactive lifestyle.

Most lower back pain is acute, or short term, and lasts a few days to a few weeks. It can resolve on its own with self-care and there is typically no residual loss of function. Unfortunately, pain may become chronic, or long term, and last longer than 12 weeks – even after the initial injury or underlying cause of pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute lower back pain develop chronic lower back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic lower back pain, but in other cases, pain persists despite medical and surgical treatment.

Signs and symptoms

  • Muscle ache
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Pain that radiates down your leg
  • Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
  • Pain that improves with reclining

When to see a provider

  • Pain is severe and doesn’t improve with rest
  • Pain spreads down one or both legs and extends below the knee
  • Pain causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
  • Pain accompanied by unexplained weight loss


  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Accidents and sports injury
  • Skeletal abnormalities
  • Joint disease

Risk Factors

  • Fitness level
  • Smoker
  • Accidental weight gain
  • Type of job or certain occupation
  • Heavy backpacks as a child
  • Age 30 to 50


You might avoid back pain or prevent its recurrence by improving your physical condition and learning and practicing proper body mechanics. Exercise regularly, build muscle, improve flexibility, lose and improve body weight and stop smoking. Stand smart, sit smart, lift smart, get good sleep and improve your nutrition habits.


For more valuable advice on staying well throughout the pandemic, and to stay connected to others, we encourage you to join the QuadMed Well-being Facebook group or subscribe to the QuadMed YouTube channel, where you can find exercise videos and more to keep you active, healthy and engaged.

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