Back Pain Health (cont.)

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Low Back Pain Prognosis

The prognosis for people with acute back pain associated with red flags (described above) depends on the underlying cause of the pain.

  • Up to 90% of people experience an episode of back pain without other health concerns, and their symptoms will go away on their own within a month. For about half, back pain may return.
  • About 80% of people with sciatica will eventually recover, with or without surgery. The recovery period is much longer than for uncomplicated, acute back pain.
  • You can improve your chances of early recovery by staying active and avoiding more than two days of relative bed rest.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery

Previous contributing author and editors:

Author: William R Fraser, DO, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine; Program Director, Department of Emergency Medicine, Doctors Hospital.

Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Anthony Anker, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Department, Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.

REFERENCE:

Klippel, John. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases, 13th ed. New York: Springer, 2008.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2014

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