Low Back Pain

Ann Intern Med. 2021 Aug;174(8):ITC113-ITC128. doi: 10.7326/AITC202108170. Epub 2021 Aug 10.


Low back pain is a common problem that is the leading cause of disability and is associated with high costs. Evaluation focuses on identification of risk factors indicating a serious underlying condition and increased risk for persistent disabling symptoms in order to guide selective use of diagnostic testing (including imaging) and treatments. Nonpharmacologic therapies, including exercise and psychosocial management, are preferred for most patients with low back pain and may be supplemented with adjunctive drug therapies. Surgery and interventional procedures are options in a minority of patients who do not respond to standard treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Low Back Pain / prevention & control
  • Low Back Pain / psychology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Examination
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic