Ask the MSK Expert: Making sense of mechanical low back pain


I’ve been dealing with low back pain while performing certain household activities: gardening, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. What should I do?

Dr. Esman says: You may be experiencing mechanical low back pain. This type of pain can be sharp, dull, constant or intermittent. It may worsen with certain activities or positions and is usually relieved with rest.

If your discomfort persists, you should be evaluated by a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. Once the possibility of a serious underlying medical condition is ruled out, there are multiple treatment options to consider. Among these are rest, physical therapy, heat or cold application, medication and injections.

Most of the time, mechanical low back pain improves within six weeks. If it does not, additional testing may be useful to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of pain.


Physician Spotlight

Judith H. Esman, MD, is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Tri Rivers. She performs EMG testing and Botox therapy for chronic migraines. When treating patients’ pain disorders, she focuses on functional restoration and fitness to help them achieve the best quality of life.

Dr. Esman sees patients in our North Hills office. To schedule an appointment with her, or any other Tri Rivers provider, please call 1-866-874-7483 or click here.