Back pain is typically caused by over-exertion, improper lifting or poor posture. Stopping the cause of the pain (the exercise, exertion or improper posture) and resting will generally relieve the discomfort.
More severe pain may require the addition of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications and the application of cold or heat to the affected area.
For most people, back pain resolves quickly, but for others, it becomes debilitating and requires further examination and treatment – although rarely surgery.
If your back pain does not improve within a few days or worsens in any way, you should seek medical help.
Follow-up at your local Urgent Care for the following symptoms:
Constant or intense pain
Pain down one or both legs
Pain that causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
Back pain with swelling or redness in a specific area of your back
Seek emergency care for the following symptoms:
Back pain due to a motor vehicle accident, fall or sports injury
Loss or change of bowel or bladder function
Accompanied by fever
Most back pain — even severe back pain — goes away on its own within six weeks. Surgery usually isn't needed for back pain and generally is considered only if other treatments are not effective.
A common cause of back pain is injury to a muscle (strain) or ligament (sprain). Strains and sprains can occur for many reasons, including improper lifting, poor posture and lack of regular exercise. Being overweight might increase your risk of strains and sprains affecting your back.
Back pain can also result from arthritis and other age-related changes in your spine, from more-serious injuries, such as a vertebral fracture or ruptured disk, and from certain infections.
Most back pain gets better within a few weeks without treatment. Bed rest isn't recommended. Over-the-counter pain medications often help reduce back pain, as does the application of cold or heat to the painful area.