Low back pain is an extremely common presenting complaint that occurs in upward of 80% of persons. Treatment of an acute episode of back pain includes relative rest, activity modification, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. Patient education is also imperative, as these patients are at risk for further future episodes of back pain. Chronic back pain (>6 months' duration) develops in a small percentage of patients. Clinicians' ability to diagnose the exact pathologic source of these symptoms is severely limited, making a cure unlikely. Treatment of these patients should be supportive, the goal being to improve pain and function.
Keywords: Acute low back pain; Chronic low back pain; Patient education; Treatment protocols.
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