The spine is a column of bones held together by muscles, tendons and ligaments. The spinal bones are cushioned by shock-absorbing disks. A problem in any part of the spine can cause back pain. For some people, back pain is simply an annoyance. For others, it can be excruciating and disabling.

Most back pain, even severe back pain, goes away on its own within six weeks ­— especially for people under age 60. Surgery usually isn't suggested for back pain. Generally, surgery is considered only if other treatments aren't effective.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips, current health topics, and expertise on managing health. Click here for an email preview.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Sept. 17, 2022

See also

  1. Coping tips for psoriatic arthritis
  2. Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  3. Acromegaly
  4. Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM)
  5. Addison's disease
  6. From a Mayo Clinic health care provider: Signs your psoriatic arthritis medications may need adjusting
  7. Adrenal fatigue: What causes it?
  8. Angina
  9. Antidepressant withdrawal: Is there such a thing?
  10. Antidepressants and alcohol: What's the concern?
  11. Antidepressants and weight gain: What causes it?
  12. Antidepressants: Can they stop working?
  13. Antidepressants for children and teens
  14. Antidepressants: Side effects
  15. Antidepressants: Selecting one that's right for you
  16. Antidepressants: Which cause the fewest sexual side effects?
  17. Aortic aneurysm
  18. Aortic Aneurysms
  19. Aortic dissection
  20. Atypical antidepressants
  21. Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis)
  22. Beating Ovarian Cancer
  23. Bladder cancer
  24. Bladder Cancer
  25. What is bladder cancer? A Mayo Clinic expert explains
  26. Bladder cancer FAQs
  27. Bladder cancer treatment options
  28. Bone spurs
  29. Aortic surgery: What patients need to know — Mayo Clinic
  30. Video: Valve-sparing aortic root replacement
  31. Brucellosis
  32. CA 125 test: A screening test for ovarian cancer?
  33. Clinical depression: What does that mean?
  34. Cold and flu viruses: How long can they live outside the body?
  35. Coping with the emotional ups and downs of psoriatic arthritis
  36. Coronary artery spasm: Cause for concern?
  37. Depression and anxiety: Can I have both?
  38. Depression, anxiety and exercise
  39. What is depression? A Mayo Clinic expert explains.
  40. Depression in women: Understanding the gender gap
  41. Depression (major depressive disorder)
  42. Depression: Supporting a family member or friend
  43. Psoriatic arthritis and diet
  44. Exercising with osteoporosis
  45. Eyestrain
  46. Flu shots
  47. Flu: When to see a doctor?
  48. Football Spinal Cord Injury - The Chris Norton Story
  49. Gallbladder cleanse: A 'natural' remedy for gallstones?
  50. Gallstones
  51. Glowing Cancer Surgery
  52. Guillain-Barre syndrome
  53. High-dose flu vaccines: How are they different from other flu vaccines?
  54. How can I manage health risks related to psoriatic arthritis?
  55. How to determine your psoriatic arthritis triggers
  56. Incompetent cervix
  57. Influenza (flu)
  58. Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction
  59. Kidney cancer
  60. Kidney Cancer
  61. Kidney Cancer
  62. What is kidney cancer? An expert explains
  63. Kidney cancer FAQs
  64. Kidney infection
  65. Kidney stones
  66. Kyphosis
  67. Living better with psoriatic arthritis
  68. Maintain a healthy weight with psoriatic arthritis
  69. Managing psoriatic arthritis at work
  70. Male depression: Understanding the issues
  71. Manage stress to improve psoriatic arthritis symptoms
  72. Managing psoriatic arthritis pain
  73. MAOIs and diet: Is it necessary to restrict tyramine?
  74. Marijuana and depression
  75. Mayo Clinic Minute: Why getting vaccinated for the flu is doubly important this season
  76. Menstrual cramps
  77. Mental health: Overcoming the stigma of mental illness
  78. Mental health providers: Tips on finding one
  79. Mental illness
  80. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  81. Natural remedies for depression: Are they effective?
  82. Nervous breakdown: What does it mean?
  83. Neuroblastoma
  84. New immunotherapy approved for metastatic bladder cancer
  85. Osteoporosis
  86. Osteoporosis treatment: Medications can help
  87. Ovarian cancer
  88. Ovarian cancer: Still possible after hysterectomy?
  89. Pain and depression: Is there a link?
  90. Pap test: Can it detect ovarian cancer?
  91. Pelvic congestion syndrome
  92. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  93. Placental abruption
  94. Polio
  95. Polycystic kidney disease
  96. Polymyalgia rheumatica
  97. Porphyria
  98. Preterm labor
  99. Preventing Kidney Stones
  100. Prostatitis
  101. Prostatitis and sex
  102. Pseudotumor cerebri (idiopathic intracranial hypertension)
  103. Psoriatic arthritis
  104. Psoriatic arthritis: Cold weather skin care
  105. Recurrent prostate infection
  106. Researchers Develop New Stents for Complex Aortic Aneurysms
  107. Robotic bladder surgery
  108. Salt craving: A symptom of Addison's disease?
  109. Scientists propose a breast cancer drug for some bladder cancer patients
  110. Scrotal masses
  111. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  112. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  113. Sleep and psoriatic arthritis
  114. Small bowel prolapse (enterocele)
  115. Small vessel disease
  116. Smallpox
  117. Spinal cord injury
  118. Spinal cord tumor
  119. Spinal tumor
  120. Teen depression
  121. Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  122. Integrative approaches to treating pain
  123. Nutrition and pain
  124. Pain rehabilitation
  125. Self-care approaches to treating pain
  126. Treatment-resistant depression
  127. Tricyclic antidepressants and tetracyclic antidepressants
  128. Tuberculosis
  129. Uterine fibriods FAQs
  130. Uterine fibroids
  131. What are uterine fibroids? A Mayo Clinic expert explains
  132. Uterine prolapse
  133. Vertebral tumor
  134. Grateful patient talks about his Mayo Clinic experience
  135. Vitamin B-12 and depression