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It is projected that up to 84% individuals experience pain in the lower back area at some point in their lives. Back pain bouts are often self-limiting for many people. Patients who experience back pain after the acute stage (four weeks) are said to have subacute back pain (lasting between 4 and 12 weeks) and may progress to chronic back pain (lasting 12 weeks). Back pain is often a sign of a serious medical condition.

Nonspecific low back pain – Many patients treated in primary care (>85 percent) have nonspecific low back pain, which means they experience back pain in the absence of a specific underlying ailment that can be reliably recognized. Many of these people may be suffering from musculoskeletal discomfort. Most nonspecific back pain patients heal within a few weeks.

Spinal cord or cauda equina compression –
Metastatic cancer
Spinal epidural abscess
Vertebral compression fracture
Axial spondyloarthritis (includes ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis)

Differential Diagnosis

Piriformis syndrome –The piriformis syndrome is thought by some to be a condition in which the piriformis muscle, a narrow muscle located in the buttocks, compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction –Sacroiliac joint dysfunction, a term to describe pain in the region of the sacroiliac joint believed to be due to malalignment or abnormal joint movement, is a controversial topic.

Bertolotti's syndrome –Back pain in the setting of a transitional vertebra is known as Bertolotti's syndrome.