Pain in the lower back most often arises from musculoskeletal injury and is termed ‘mechanical low back pain’. This type of pain is worse with certain movements or positions and almost always there is a focal area of tenderness upon examination. It should improve with time using a combination of rest, application of ice, pain medication and gentle stretching.
However, pain in the lower back can also arise from other sources such as disease of internal organs (e.g. kidneys, bladder, pancreas, heart vessels), compression of spinal nerve roots following herniation of a inter-vertebral disk, or cancer of the bones of the spinal column. These causes of back pain often have additional symptoms such as sciatica (burning pain extending down the back of one leg) and do not improve with the passage of time.
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