Back pain and sciatica | University of Maryland Medical Center

Posted: July 12, 2015 at 9:42 am


An in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of back pain, including sciatica.

Herniated disk; Sciatica



Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 25% of adults have at least a day of back pain during a typical 3 month period.

Back pain can be acute, subacute, or chronic.

Back pain can occur in any area of the back, but it most often strikes the lower back, which supports most of the body's weight.

The back is highly complex. Pain may result from damage or injury to any of its various bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and other structures. Still, despite sophisticated techniques, which provide detailed anatomical images of the spine and other tissues, the cause of most cases of back pain remains unknown.

Vertebrae. The spine is a column of small bones, or vertebrae, that support the entire upper body. The column is grouped into three sections:

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Back pain and sciatica | University of Maryland Medical Center

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