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Low back pain is a common condition that impacts approximately 3 million Americans a year. The pain level varies from mild to debilitating. Oftentimes the pain results from a muscle sprain or ligament strain from heavy lifting, poor ergonomics at work, myofascial pain syndrome, or a ruptured or herniated disc in the back (lumbar spine). In adults 60 and older the cause of lower back pain is more likely to be related to arthritis or spinal stenosis.
When back pain becomes severe or occurs suddenly, it is time to see the doctor. Examples of when to see a physician include falling. The Center for Disease Control reports that one out of five falls results in a bone fracture or serious head injury. Hip fractures often result. Seek emergency care when a fall takes place.