Low back pain is pain or discomfort in the lower part of your back. Some people with low back pain have mild discomfort, whereas may have more severe pain. Every person with low back pain has slightly different symptoms. Low back pain varies based on what causes the pain, the pain severity, other symptoms that flare up, and how long it lasts.
How common is low back pain?
About 4 out of 5 Canadians will have back pain sometime during their lifetime.1 Most people get better after days to a few weeks, but 1-2 people out of 10 will suffer from long-term back pain.
What is the difference between short-term and chronic low back pain?
Short-term, or acute, low back pain lasts less than a month. Low back pain that lasts more than 3 months is considered long-term or chronic. Long-term back pain can be caused by serious conditions. If you have had back pain for more than 3 months, it is important to let your doctor know.
What puts me at risk of low back pain?2
As people age, the discs in the spine don’t cushion as well and results in problems with movement. As we get older, the bones in our spine become weaker and can break. This is a common cause of back pain in seniors.
People who are overweight or obese tend to have more low back pain because extra weight can put stress on the back.
In addition to the many health problems with cigarette smoking, smokers are at higher risk of low back pain compared to non-smokers.3
Constant heavy lifting at work can injure the back because of the amount of weight or poor posture while lifting.
People with anxiety and depression are at higher risk of having chronic pain. Even stress from daily life can worsen the pain.