What is lower back pain? Lower back pain is any type of pain or discomfort throughout the posterior (back) portion of your lower trunk area, extending down to your pelvis. The lower back is also referred to as the lumbar area or lumbar spine. Most people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and absenteeism from work, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Pain in the lower back may be brief or chronic, which is defined as lasting more than three months. You may feel a dull, annoying ache or a sharp, bursting pain. Acute lower back pain often resolves with basic self-care measures within a few weeks, but it can become chronic and lead to more serious problems over time. In addition to the lumbar spine, there are numerous nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the lower back. Any of these structures can become irritated or inflamed in response to a variety of different factors, such as trauma, muscle strain, arthritis, and bone cancer. Lower back pain with other symptoms, such as loss of bladder or bowel control and numbness in your extremities (arms or legs), is a serious condition and should be evaluated as soon as possible or in an emergency medical setting. In addition, if your pain is extreme, persistent, or causes you concern, contact a medical professional.