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In the Clinic |

Low Back Pain

Jennifer F. Wilson
Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(9):ITC5-1. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-148-9-200805060-01005
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Low back pain has a lifetime prevalence of nearly 80% and is the fifth most common reason for physician visits in the United States (1). It is also costly, accounting for a large and increasing proportion of health care expenditures without evidence of corresponding improvements in outcomes (2). Most low back pain is due to nonspecific musculoskeletal strain, and episodes generally resolve within days to a few weeks with self-care. Up to one third of patients, however, reports persistent back pain of at least moderate intensity 1 year after an acute episode, and 1 in 5 report substantial limitations in activity (3). Because low back pain is common, chronic, and can lead to substantial disability, it is important that physicians be proficient with its evaluation and management.

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