GREENSBURG — Did you know that most back pain occurs in the lower back? According to the National Institutes of Health, about 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives. This pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation.

The lower back includes vertebrae L1-L5 in the lumbar region. This region supports much of the upper body’s weight, making it a very important part of the human body.

Most low back pain affecting this region is acute, which means the pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Acute low back pain can often be treated at home with the appropriate self-care. However, lower back pain can also be subacute (lasting between 4 and 12 weeks) or chronic (lasting for 12 weeks or more, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of the pain has been treated).

While there are many potential causes of low back pain, a sedentary lifestyle, low physical fitness, and weight gain are among the most common risk factors. Other potential risk factors include age, genetics, and occupational risks, such as heavy lifting on the job.

According to the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise, specifically core strengthening exercises that are age appropriate and tailored to fit your fitness level, can strengthen the back and reduce the risk of low back pain.

So, what should you do if pain is preventing you from performing daily activities or limiting your ability to perform core strengthening exercises?

Dr. Danielle Turnak, a pain specialist at Decatur County Memorial Hospital, cautions patients not to wait to seek help. “If you are experiencing debilitating pain, it is time to seek an evaluation from a pain management specialist,” says Dr. Turnak.

She goes on to say, “We treat each patient as an individual by listening to their story, looking at their studies, and examining them. We then try to come up with the best plan for that patient to improve their pain and quality of life.”

To learn more about pain management and treatment, visit

Information provided by DCMH

- Information provided by DCMH

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