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I wonder which form(s) are correct amongst the following:

  • "Low back pain"
  • "Lower back pain"

I have read both forms, are they both correct and synonymous?


Examples:

http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/lower-back-pain-symptoms-and-causes :

Lower Back Pain Symptoms and Causes

http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptom-checker/low-back-pain-adult/related-factors/itt-20009075

Find possible causes of low back pain based on specific factor.

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  • 2
    BTW-comment, is it right to use "amongst" when referring to two options? I am sure that "among" is incorrect.
    – Cardinal
    Sep 1, 2016 at 16:32
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    @Cardinal, Franck: Among and amongst also mean exactly the same thing - same as while, whilst, for example (but in both cases the latter form is much less common, particularly in AmE). Sep 1, 2016 at 16:47
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    Weird to see that "low back pain" is more common - I would have sworn that in conversation (and TV commercials for painkillers) lower was the more common one.
    – stangdon
    Sep 1, 2016 at 16:52
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    "Low back pain" reads like some kind of medical condition, while "Lower back pain" just indicates the location of the pain.
    – user3169
    Sep 1, 2016 at 17:02
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    @FumbleFingers: That's odd; I don't think I've ever heard "low back pain" before. I wonder if there's a dialectal difference? Do British people also refer to that part of the body as the "low back" instead of the "lower back"?
    – ruakh
    Sep 4, 2016 at 1:14

3 Answers 3

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As far as I have gone through this topic online and researched, "low back pain" seems to be the proper medical term corresponding to the issue.

"Lower back pain" is sometimes used in synonymous with that, but in proper medical terms, that doesn't seem to fit in.

Even Wikipedia, WebMD, and Mayoclinic refer to the condition as "low back pain".

Even if I hit Google with the search condition as "lower back" the first response i get is "low back pain" sourced from Appollo Hospitals and others.

Checkout the links here:

WebMD

Wikipedia

Mayoclinic

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  • +1 Medical terminology, even when expressed in 'plain English', doesn't always sound natural.
    – John Feltz
    Nov 20, 2016 at 18:33
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As an native english speaker with pain in my back, i commonly use lower back pain as the lower back indicates the area of the back close to the hips or the bottom of the spine. In my interpretation "low back pain" could be read as back pain which is minimal, similar to having "low volume".

EDIT: low should not be used as an adjective for back pain, a better adjective would be minimal.

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  • -1 for using nonstandard capitalization. Sep 21, 2016 at 15:30
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If the opposite is "upper back", then it should be "lower back". Otherwise the opposite would be "up back", which is obviously incorrect. :D

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    Your logic would explain why lower back is used as a synonym of low back.
    – Chenmunka
    Oct 7, 2021 at 7:58

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