According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Low Back Pain Fact Sheet, most acute, sudden onset low back pain can be classified as mechanical. This type of back pain results from lower back trauma or a condition like arthritis. Pain may result from sports injury, working in the yard, doing home repairs or from a car crash suddenly stressing the spine and attached tissues. Attempting to lift something too heavy or over-stretching during sports or a workout, can cause sprains, strains, muscle spasms or injury to ligaments in the back.
When sudden onset pain hits, you may feel stabbing pains and be unable to stand up straight. Pain may radiate, extending from the initial injury site to elsewhere in your body. Acute pain may get worse if left untreated. Pain may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and may recur as chronic pain after the initial traumatic injury and recovery.
Why does sudden onset lower back pain happen?
As we age, our bone strength, muscle strength and elasticity generally diminish. Our vertebral discs start to lose flexibility and necessary fluid, which leaves the spine with less cushion to protect its components from injury and pain.
When the spine becomes overly stressed from the activities discussed above, a disc may be displaced or bulge out, putting sudden and great pressure on nerves rooted in the spine. These nerves control body movement, transmitting signals between brain and body. When these nerve roots are irritated or compressed, back pain is the result.
Degenerative conditions like disc disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, viral infection or congenital spinal abnormalities may also cause acute pain episodes. Other contributors to low back pain include: obesity, smoking, pregnancy weight gain, stress, being out of condition physically, chronically bad posture and habitually poor sleep position. Scar tissue buildup from repeated injury also leaves you vulnerable to future injury.
Signs of a more serious problem requiring immediate medical attention
If you have a high temperature or loss of bladder or bowel control along with your back pain, see a doctor immediately.
Exercises to help relieve sudden onset low back pain
- Reduce your activity level for only the first couple days after the pain episode. Gradually re-start your usual activities as soon as you can.
- Start with light aerobic training: Walk, ride a stationary bike and/or swim. These aerobic activities improve blood flow to your back, strengthen muscles in the stomach and lumbar region and promote healing, without jarring the body.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises: Seek guidance for your specific case from a back specialist or physical therapist about when to begin stretching and strengthening exercises and how to perform them.
- Do not do any heavy lifting or twisting of the back for 6 weeks.
- If your pain has not improved after use of medicines, physical therapy, exercise and other treatments, your doctor may recommend an epidural injection.
- Functional Disc Rehydration™: Before resorting to painful, side-effect laden treatments, invasive therapies or surgical options, consider a groundbreaking yet simple and straightforward lower back treatment developed by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer of the Illinois Back Institute. Functional Disc Rehydration™ shows excellent results in a wide range of patients. The therapy restores crucial hydration to the nucleus of spinal cells, where elasticity has been lost due to the aging process or spinal damage. The innovative rehydration procedure reverses spinal degeneration, restoring pain-free range of motion--and helping you get your life back.
For back pain relief without invasive treatment, contact The Illinois Back Institute today.