What is acute mechanical back pain?

Acute mechanical back pain is a common medical problem. Acute pain is pain that has been present less than 4 to 6 weeks. Mechanical means the source of the pain may be in the spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, or soft tissues. Acute mechanical back pain may also be called acute low back pain, lumbago, idiopathic low back pain, lumbosacral strain or sprain, or lumbar syndrome.

What causes mechanical back pain?

A precise anatomic cause of mechanical back pain can be identified only 20% of the time. Sometimes, a specific trauma or strenuous activity may cause the pain. However, 80% of the time, the specific source of the pain is not found. Fortunately most people recover in a relatively short period of time with simple treatment.

Mechanical back pain implies the source of pain is in the spine and/or its supporting structure. The surrounding muscles and ligaments may develop reactive spasm and pain.

What are the symptoms of mechanical back pain?

Most people with mechanical back pain experience pain primarily in the lower back. The pain may radiate (spread) to the buttocks and thighs. Many people may also experience spasms with mechanical back pain. The symptoms of mechanical back pain are generally more noticeable with flexion of the back and when lifting heavy objects.

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