Low back pain



Physical discomfort with pain affecting the lower half of the back. It can vary in intensity from a dull ache to disabling.


Hot or cold packs may ease discomfort. Limited bed rest, followed by regular activities and gentle stretching exercises may help. Avoid sudden and painful movements.

When to seek immediate medical care

Seek medical care immediately if low back pain:

  • Is caused by trauma, such as a car accident or sports injury.
  • Occurs with a fever.
  • Causes new bowel or bladder control problems.

When to make a doctor's appointment

Make an appointment to see a health care professional if low back pain:

  • Persists or worsens.
  • Travels down one or both legs.
  • Is accompanied by weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs.
  • Occurs with swelling, redness or unintentional weight loss.
  • Limits the ability to work, sleep or perform daily activities.