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FAQs About Lower Back Pain And Urgent Care

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Why does your lower back hurt—and how can an urgent care clinic help? Research on this common back issue found that it was the most common type of pain reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you have low back pain (or LBP), take a look at what you need to know about the possible causes and how to get treatment. 

What Causes Low Back Pain?

There isn't one universal cause for this common medical issue. Some patients experience pain in the lower region of the back after strenuous activity, exercise, or heavy lifting. These movements can result in muscle or ligament strains. Even though intense activities are often associated with this type of muscle strain, a sudden or awkward movement could also cause a potentially painful injury.

While movement can injure your back and cause pain, it isn't the only potential culprit. Other causes of low back pain include arthritis, osteoporosis-related fractures, ruptured or bulging disks, and kidney infections/disease. 

What Should You Do If You Have Low Back Pain?

The answer to this question depends on the pain level, the possible cause, and other symptoms. If you can't move, had a serious accident, or have other concerning symptoms (such as a high fever or a deep wound), you will need emergency treatment immediately. 

Pain that is irritating, but mild, typically won't require a trip to the emergency department. Even though you won't necessarily need to seek care at the ER, you should consult with a doctor or other qualified medical provider. The healthcare practitioner can examine your back, order imaging tests, diagnose the cause, and recommend treatment. 

Can An Urgent Care Clinic Treat Low Back Pain?

Provided you don't need emergency care, urgent services or a walk-in medical clinic may help you to find relief from LBP. You can get a physical exam at an urgent care center that may help the doctor or medical provider to diagnose the problem. If the exam doesn't reveal a cause, the doctor may order additional tests. These could include x-rays or an MRI. Some walk-in clinics also provide these or other imaging options. 

Along with an exam and imaging tests, the urgent care medical provider can recommend or prescribe an at-home treatment. The specific treatment that you need depends on the cause. Pain from a kidney infection will require an antibiotic—but discomfort from an injury won't. If the doctor feels that your LBP is the result of a movement-related strain, they may recommend an over the counter pain reliever, prescribe a stronger pain relief medication, or suggest heat, rest, special exercises, or other alternatives.