It's a normal day and you're feeling good. You're doing something that you have done dozens or maybe even hundreds of times before, like maybe laundry, yardwork, or a favorite hobby of yours. Then it happens. You make one wrong turn, twist, or movement, and suddenly you are in an extreme amount of pain! You are experiencing sudden onset lower back pain, and it is severe and terrible!
While any kind of back pain is bad, sudden lower back pain is often considered by many people to be the worst kind of pain, because it is so sudden and extreme. The fact that it can happen in an instant and leave you barely able to move can be very alarming. Fortunately, for the vast majority of people this kind of pain is very common and not related to a serious issue. However, for a very small percentage of people the pain could be indicative of a more serious and dangerous issue.
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So, what is causing your sudden lower back pain? Read on to learn what the most common causes are and their symptoms:
- Mechanical Back Pain
By far, most cases of sudden onset lower back pain is something called a "mechanical" pain. Basically, this refers to a type of pain that has no real origin and is not specific at all. Although it can definitely be painful, this form of pain is not very serious. It is usually caused by something musculoskeletal in nature, like a muscle spasm, and most cases can be lessened or relieved by relaxing or lying down for a while.
Sciatica is easily the second most common cause of sudden lower back pain. It refers to the pain caused by an irritation to the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down both legs and into the feet. While sciatica can occur in any area where the nerve travels, the majority of this pain is due to a pinching of that nerve near the spine, due to one of these causes:
- Herniated Disc
- Bulging Disc
- Degenerated Disc
- Spinal Stenosis
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Minor Back Trauma
At any given time, up to one third of the population of the United States has a minor back injury such as a bulging disc, without even knowing it. This is because the disc is not pressing against any nerves to cause any discomfort or pain. However, minor traumas to the discs in your lower back can happen at any time; so that even the smallest action, such as sneezing or bending over to pick something up, can lead to sudden and severe lower back pain!
When most people think of arthritis, which is inflammation and pain in the body's joints, they only think it occurs in places like the hands, elbows, or knees. But there are over 100 different types of arthritis that affect all areas of the body, including several that can affect the spine. For example, Ankylosing Spondylitis is a common form of arthritis that only targets the spine. Common symptoms of athritis is pain that gets worse when waking up or going to bed, but decreases due to activity.
- More Serious Causes
While these causes are extremely rare, they do occur in a very small amount of cases. People experiencing any of these need to seek medical help immediately:
- Cauda Equina Syndrome - A disorder that causes pressure on the nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord. Symptoms include leg weakness, numbess in the region below the tailbone, and bowel or bladder problems
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - This is an enlargement of the abdominal artery, whose symptoms include back pain, pulsating near the navel, and constant pain near the abdomen.
- Bone disorders, tumors, or infections - This can be a factor if your sudden lower back pain is accompanied by fever, weight loss, a depressed immune system, a history of cancer anywhere in the body, or non-injury related pain if you are over 50 or under 20. Seek help immediately.
At The Illinois Back Institute we are dedicated to educating people, because we know that the more that you understand about your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it. We specialize in Functional Disc Rehydration - a multi-disciplinary approach to making the back healthier without surgery, injections or medications.
If you would like to schedule a Free Back Pain Consultation, you can give us a call at 844-408-0462 or click here:
Also, if you would like to learn more about your back pain, or would like to know more about what we do and how our treatment works, we regularly hold Free Educational Seminars at each one of our clinics! To find out when the next seminar is and reserve a seat, click here:
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