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How long does lower back pain usually last?

Ronald B. Tolchin, DO
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
If the pain is from overall strain, stress, over-exercising or lifting, or bad posture, lower back pain can resolve itself over a few days to a few weeks, depending on severity and treatment. 

If you address what's causing the pain and take actions to help alleviate the strain, recovery will be sooner than later.

However, lower back pain that persists for more than a few weeks requires a visit to the doctor. A sports injury or degenerative condition such as arthritis needs special attention and your doctor may prescribe medication and targeted therapy.

If you don't normally suffer from back pain and the pain is not severe or physically limiting, then try rest, ice/heat applications and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.
Brian Yee
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Statistics show that up to 90% of patients with an acute episode of low back pain feel better within 4-12 weeks. However, up to 70-80% of patients will have an episode again within a year. So in the short term, pain can subside, but in the long term low back pain can return - potentially leading to chronic back pain.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Most lower back pain gradually gets better over about six weeks but some people still have pain after a year. Watch the video to learn more about duration of lower back pain.



Continue Learning about Back Pain

Back Pain

Back Pain

Just about everyone has experienced some level of back pain. It is one of the most common ailments brought on by disease, injury, or misalignment of the spine. It can be a dull muscle ache in the lower back or a severe, sharp pain ...

in that affects your ability to bend over or stand up straight. Most often back pain results from strained muscles and ligaments that surround the spine, but it can also be caused by structural problems with the bones of the spine. There are treatment options for back pain, and understanding the causes and symptoms is key to preventing it in the first place.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.