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Low Back Pain, a Comprehensive Review: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment

  • Other Pain (A. Kaye and N. Vadivelu, Section Editors)
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Purpose of Review

Low back pain encompasses three distinct sources: axial lumbosacral, radicular, and referred pain. Annually, the prevalence of low back pain in the general US adult population is 10–30%, and the lifetime prevalence of US adults is as high as 65–80%.

Recent Findings

Patient history, physical exam, and diagnostic testing are important components to accurate diagnosis and identification of patient pathophysiology. Etiologies of low back pain include myofascial pain, facet joint pain, sacroiliac joint pain, discogenic pain, spinal stenosis, and failed back surgery. In chronic back pain patients, a multidisciplinary, logical approach to treatment is most effective and can include multimodal medical, psychological, physical, and interventional approaches.


Low back pain is a difficult condition to effectively treat and continues to affect millions of Americans every year. In the current investigation, we present a comprehensive review of low back pain and discuss associated pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment.

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Correspondence to Ivan Urits.

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Conflict of Interest

Ivan Urits, Aaron Burshtein, Medha Sharma, Lauren Testa, Peter A. Gold, Vwaire Orhurhu, Omar Viswanath, Mark R. Jones, Moises A. Sidransky, and Boris Spektor declare no conflict of interest. Dr. Kaye is a speaker for Depomed, Inc. and Merck, Inc.

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Urits, I., Burshtein, A., Sharma, M. et al. Low Back Pain, a Comprehensive Review: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Curr Pain Headache Rep 23, 23 (2019).

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