or short-term low back pain generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks.
Most acute back pain is the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder
such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work
around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or
other stresses that injure the spine and surrounding tissues. Symptoms may range from muscle ache
to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an
inability to stand straight. Chronic back pain is pain that persists for more
than 3 months. It is often progressive and the cause can be difficult to
Nearly everyone has low back pain sometime during their life. Men and women are equally affected. It occurs most often between ages 30 and 50, due in part to the aging process but also as a result of sedentary life styles with too little (sometimes punctuated by too much) exercise. The risk of experiencing low back pain from disc disease or spinal degeneration increases with age.
Low back pain unrelated to injury or other known cause is unusual in pre-teen children. However, back pain from an overloaded backpack can quickly strain the back and cause muscle fatigue. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 13,260 injuries related to backpacks were treated at doctors offices, clinics, and emergency rooms in the year 2000. To avoid back strain, it is recommended that a backpack contain no more than 20% of a child's body weight. Children carrying backpacks should bend both knees when lifting heavy packs, visit their locker or desk between classes to lighten loads or replace books, purchase a backpack tote on wheels. Some schools have solved the problem by giving the student a second copy of their textbooks to keep at home.