Most Americans have some back discomfort in their lifetime. Most often back pain is caused by a muscle or ligament strain or spasm, a disk problem, spondylosis, or stenosis. Stress can also be a factor. Prolapsed disc also known as a herniated disc can produce severe back pain. Many prolapsed discs can repair themselves with adequate treatment, time and rest. In addition to medications and surgery, physicians sometimes inject steroids to shrink the disc. Spondylosis is sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease, or osteoarthritis of the spine and it produces back pain and tenderness caused by overuse, injury or aging. Lumbar stenosis, a constriction or narrowing of the spine caused by arthritic changes or genetics, results in pain in the buttock, thigh, and calf associated with movement. Sciatica, nerve inflammation or compression of a nerve root in the lower back leads to radiating sensation from the back through the buttock and leg. Tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness may be present. Good posture while sitting, lying, lifting or exercising is often the best way to prevent back problems. Exercise, stretching, and strength training can make your arms, legs, and back stronger, thus relieving back pain. Weight loss is important as extra pounds stored in the abdomen put stress on your lower back. Physicians typically recommend conservative care, manipulation and physical therapy for simple back pain. Sometimes medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, are indicated and rarely steroid injections, or surgery. Consult your medical provider for persistent back pain, pain that travels to the arms or legs or if experiencing loss of bladder & bowel control.