I'm having my third bout of low back pain in three months. This time there's pain going down into my right buttocks and then down my leg. I don't seem to be getting better like the first two times. Is this typical?

Anyone who has just low back pain is likely to recover faster than someone whose pain radiates down the leg. Back pain patients with two or more neurologic signs have slower recovery than other patients without neurologic signs or symptoms.

A doctor should evaluate recurring back pain. If this is your third episode of back pain in as many months, a medical exam is in order. The physician will make sure there isn't something more seriously wrong.

If a mechanical cause is found for your symptoms then the right treatment can be applied. The goal is to speed up recovery and avoid long-term, chronic pain patterns from developing.