Occasional Lower Back Pain: possibly mechanical?

Patient

Q: I am a nurses assistant, and I do a lot of lifting. For the past month or two I've noticed that I get sharp pains in my lower back on the right hand side of my spine, It is pretty low on my back. It's not constant pain. I notice it more if I have my weight on one hip or if I have a leg crossed over the other. There is no tingling and the pain doesn't trail to my legs or anywhere else. Do you have any ideas what this is and should I see a doctor about this?

Doctor

A:   In the view that your work implies lifting and since these last 2 months you have been having the pain  described and your young age, the most likely diagnosis would be: Mechanical low back pain (LBP) which is the second most common reason for seeing a physician in the United States. In the majority of cases the LBP resolves within 2-4 weeks.
The conservative treatment of the mechanical lower back pain is basically relative rest, avoiding all the activities that produce pain or discomfort, such as weight lifting. Also very important is to keep a good posture at all times and sleeping with a pillow between the knees while lying on one side may increase comfort. Some doctors recommend lying on your back with a pillow under your knees.   Control of the pain and inflammation with Ice, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), Physical Therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs (“Aleve”). Try to keep a consistent exercise routine with stretching and extension-flexion which may reduce tension and stress to the spinal joints. After your visit to the hospital for back pain, it is recommended that you follow your doctor's instructions as carefully as possible. This includes taking the medications and performing activities as directed. The back pain will improve within several days. Do not be discouraged if you don't get a fast improvement. Almost everyone gets better within a month of onset of the pain.

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