Low back pain may be dull, burning, or sharp, covering a broad area or confined to a single point. It is often triggered by some combination of overuse, muscle strain, or injury to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the spine. Less commonly, it is caused by illness or spinal deformity.
A lower back problem that puts pressure on a nerve to the leg, such as a herniated disc, can cause leg symptoms, either on their own or along with low back pain. Leg symptoms can include pain, numbness, or tingling, usually below the knee, and/or weakness in one leg. Weakness and/or numbness in both legs, and sometimes loss of bladder and/or bowel control, are symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, a serious condition in which the bundle of nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord is squeezed. This requires immediate medical attention.
Back pain can be:
Last Revised: December 14, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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