The lower back is the area of the spine between the bottom of the ribs and the pelvis. There are five movable lumbar vertebrae with discs in between them. They are supported by strong surrounding muscles and ligaments with spinal nerves existing between each of the vertebrae. The pelvis articulates with the spine and provides additional stability and support for the spine.

Injuries can happen when you do something new, different or strenuous, such as lifting heavy items or playing a new sport. The pain may also occur because of a build-up of stress on the back that gradually turns into an injury. Although serious causes of back pain are rare, it is important that you have your condition assessed by a qualified health professional such as a physiotherapist.

The goals of treatment for acute low back pain are to relieve pain, improve function, reduce time away from work, and develop coping strategies through education. Optimising treatment may minimise the development of chronic pain, which accounts for most of the health care costs related to low back pain.

Michael Christofis is expert in the assessment of musculoskeletal injuries, including acute low back pain. The earlier you see him, the quicker he can help get the problem under control and get you back to work, sport and life.