What Causes Sudden Lower Back Pain A Deeper Look
What causes sudden lower back pain?
For those of us who have experienced a sudden pain in our lower back know how scary it can be. We dont realize how much we use a part of our body until that part of our body is in pain, and your lower back is involved with almost any movement your body can make. But what causes sudden lower back pain and what can you start doing today so you dont end up in pain with every move you make, tomorrow?
1. Stretch everyday.
Whether its a quick few minute full body stretch or an hour long yoga session, stretching your muscles everyday allows your body to work the kinks of your day out. If those kinks are not worked out, overtime they will tighten to the point that any wrong move could cause extreme sudden pain. Here are some great stretches to start with.
2. Use a pillow or back rest anytime you are in your vehicle or sitting in your desk at work or your bed at home.
Your back muscles take a a huge brunt of your day so they are usually one of the first muscles to weaken. Without proper support when you are sitting down your lower back muscles will continue to work throughout the day instead of resting. This increased wear and tear on your muscles allows for any random misstep to become a hospital visit.
3. Use a foam roller when your muscles are sore or the day after a hard workout.
4. Go for a walk after lunch.
5. Avoid twisting your back too hard.
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:
Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.
Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.
Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
When To Contact A Doctor
Sometimes, people know the cause of their sharp lower back pain. For example, the pain may happen after they bend to pick something up or after an intense workout at the gym. In these cases, rest and home care may be enough to help the body heal.
However, there are some occasions when a person should contact a doctor, including:
- when the pain does not respond well to home treatments
- when pain that has no known cause lasts for longer than a couple of days
- when they experience tingling or weakness in the legs
People should take note of any symptoms as they appear to share with the doctor. The doctor will likely ask the person to describe their symptoms and how long they have persisted. They may also ask the person to do a series of movements to try to find the exact point of pain in the back and determine the underlying cause.
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What Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain Actually Work
Unless youve had a major injury, such as a fall or car accident, you probably dont need to rush to the doctor for back pain. You may want to try these simple self-care strategies first.
Avoid bed rest. When lower back pain strikes, people often think complete rest will relieve back pain. However, a review of many clinical studies found that patients who retreated to bed actually experienced more pain and recovered more slowly than patients who stayed fairly active
Use ice and/or heat. Many people find that using ice or cold packs for periods of up to 20 minutes at a time helps reduce pain and swelling. Always wrap ice or a cold pack in a thin towel before putting it on your body so you dont injure your skin. You may also find that heat, such as a heating pad or warm bath, eases pain. Ice is recommended in the first 48 hours after injury then you can try a combo of ice and heat.
Try over-the-counter remedies. Short-term use of OTC pain relievers, such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen, may ease your lower back pain. Also consider OTC creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin. They stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain.
Limited Bed Remainder Causes Of Sudden Back Pain Lower
As soon as the mainstay of treatment for back pain, bed remainder has fallen out of favor. Doctors now understand its much better to maintain moving to make sure that your muscular tissues dont become rigid. Bed remainder can still work remedy for low back pain, especially if your discomfort is so serious that it hurts to sit or stand. Try to restrict it to a few hrs at a time and for no more than one or two days. Causes Of Sudden Back Pain Lower
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Muscle Imbalances And Trigger Points
To help you sit, stand, walk, run and otherwise be active, the muscles, bones, and joints of the body have an uncanny way of “robbing from Peter to pay Paul,” so to speak. It’s all in the name of keeping you balanced and moving.
But for whatever reason the balance that’s established is often not the most ideal, leading to some muscles getting very tight, and others becoming overstretched and taut. In this case, you may develop painful spasms or trigger points on one side of the body or the other.
Muscles commonly affected include your quadratus lumborum which is your flank muscle and your gluteus medius which is located at the side of your hip, and plays a key role in keeping you from excessive side to side movement. Both can lead to pain on the right side of your back, depending on the nature of the imbalance.
Low Back Pain Treatment
Most people who have low back pain can treat it on their own. Often the pain goes away in a few days or weeks. You may need 1 to 2 days of rest for a hurt back. However, too much rest can cause your muscles to weaken. This can slow your recovery. Even if it hurts, try to walk around for a few minutes each hour. This helps keep your back muscles strong.
There are a few positions that provide relief when your back hurts. These help to take the pressure and weight off your back. Lay on your back on the floor:
- With pillows under your knees.
- With your hips and knees bent.
- With your hips and knees bent and your feet on a chair.
Heating pads can help to relax painful muscle spasms. Use heat for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Ice packs and massages may give relief as well. Over-the-counter medicines can reduce pain and swelling. These include aspirin, acetaminophen , naproxen , and ibuprofen .
People who have ongoing back problems need treatment to manage the cause. Being overweight can make back pain worse. If you are overweight, you may need to lose weight. You may need to exercise or improve your posture when you are sitting, standing, sleeping, or lifting.
Severe cases of low back pain could require physical therapy or wearing a brace to support your back. Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers or injections for severe pain. These prescriptions can be addictive, so its best to seek other treatment methods, if available.
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Lower Back Pain Causes
Nonspecific low back pain means that the pain is not due to any specific or underlying disease that can be found. It is thought that in some cases the cause may be an over-stretch of a ligament or muscle. In other cases the cause may be a minor problem with a disc between two spinal bones , or a minor problem with a small facet joint between two vertebrae. There may be other minor problems in the structures and tissues of the lower back that result in pain. However, these causes of the pain are impossible to prove by tests. Therefore, it is usually impossible for a doctor to say exactly where the pain is coming from, or exactly what is causing the pain.
To some people, not knowing the exact cause of the pain is unsettling. However, looked at another way, many people find it reassuring to know that the diagnosis is nonspecific back pain which means there is no serious problem or disease of the back or spine.
Other Types Of Diagnosis
- A chiropractor will diagnose through touch, or palpation, and a visual examination. Chiropractic is known as a direct approach, with a strong focus on adjusting the spinal joints. A chiropractor may also want to see the results of imaging scans and any blood and urine tests.
- An osteopath also diagnoses through palpation and visual inspection. Osteopathy involves slow and rhythmic stretching, known as mobilization, pressure or indirect techniques, and manipulation of joints and muscles.
- A physical therapist focuses on diagnosing problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body.
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What Is Lower Back Pain
Low back pain can result from many different injuries, conditions or diseases most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in the back.
Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.
Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy . Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can relieve pain and help the healing process. Some back injuries and conditions require surgical repair.
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Musculoskeletal Conditions That Can Cause Sudden Pain In Lower Back
The commonest cause of sudden lower back pain is injury or damage to the muscles and ligaments supporting the back and other joint related conditions. These include
- Injury to bones, joints, spinal vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, soft tissues and blood vessels in the lower back region. Sport injuries, falls, direct blows, accidents, etc. can cause damage to these structures leading to sudden lower back pain.
- Protrusion or herniation of intervertebral disc, annular tears and bulging of discs. These discs are protective cushions in between the spinal vertebrae, which if protrude from these original position, cause severe and sudden pain in lower back. This commonly occurs when the person is bending or lifting heavy objects or may occur with gradual wear and tear.
- Tensed muscles in the lower back can cause sudden sharp pain with a feeling of weakness in the muscles and inability to move or lift objects.
- Joint conditions and aging related problems like lumbar spondylosis, various types of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis affecting lower back.
Being overweight and an inactive lifestyle can contribute to lower back pain. Poor posture, sitting for long hours, awkward movements, excessive use of lower back muscles causing overuse injuries or inappropriate ways of lifting weights, etc.
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How Is Back Pain Treated
Acute back pain usually gets better on its own. Acute back pain is usually treated with:
- Medications designed to relieve pain and/or inflammation
- analgesics such as acetaminophen and aspirin
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be sold over the counter some NSAIDS are prescribed by a physician
- muscle relaxants are prescription drugs that are used on a short-term basis to relax tight muscles
- topical pain relief such as creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain. Common topical medications include capsaicin and lidocaine.
Exercising, bed rest, and surgery are typically not recommended for acute back pain.Chronic back pain is most often treated with a stepped care approach, moving from simple low-cost treatments to more aggressive approaches. Specific treatments may depend on the identified cause of the back pain.
Taking Action Each Day Is Crucial In Preventing Sudden Lower Back Pain
Tomorrow is not promised to us so it is our responsibility to take every action that we can to allow ourselves to live the happiest life that we can live. Doing these things everyday shouldnt be a chore or something you just want to get over with so you can go back to doing something else. Take just a little time out of the day to take care of your body and I promise it will pay you back a thousand times over.
Its time to stop worrying about stepping one wrong way and being sent to the hospital in terrible pain. Ive been the guy that is always complaining about how bad his back hurts and how every time I bent over I would feel a shooting pain through my back. Its not fun. But starting a regular yoga practice will help lead you to the path of recovery. Make the commitment to start healing your body and I promise you will not regret it.
Stick With It!
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What Exactly Is The Lower Back Anyway
Your lower back is known as the lumbar region of the spine. It has a lot of heavy lifting to do: The lumbar spine carries the weight of your entire upper body, plus biomechanical stresses that occur with movement.
The lumbar spine has five vertebraebackbones. Each vertebra has a large disc cushiony gel wrapped in a tough membrane on its front side that acts as a shock absorber. Each vertebra also has two cartilage-lined facet joints on its back side. Working together, discs and facet joints allow the spine to safely bend and twist.
Your lower back also includes ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Ligaments are strong bands that hold the vertebrae and discs together. Tendons attach muscles to the vertebrae. These structures help limit excessive movement that could harm the spinal cord.
Symptoms Of Low Back Pain
These might range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation. The pain may make it hard to move or stand up straight. Pain that comes on suddenly is âacute.â It might happen during sports or heavy lifting. Pain that lasts more than 3 months is considered âchronic.â If your pain is not better within 72 hours, you should consult a doctor.
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You’re Running A Fever
The flu can definitely make you run a fever and achiness, including in your back. However, if the fever is unresponsive to standard OTC medications, you could have a serious infection that needs treatment immediately. If you go to a doctor and they find an infection, they may prescribe antibiotics and a few days rest.
When To Worry About Low Back Pain
And when not to! Whats bark and whats bite? Checklists and red flags and non-scary possible explanations for alarmingly back pain
The bark of low back pain is usually much worse than its bite. The pain almost always makes it seem worse than it is. Even when its unusually severe and/or constant, it probably isnt dangerous.
MRI and x-ray for low back pain are surprisingly unreliable,1 because things like bulging discs usually arent a big deal,2 most back pain goes away on its own,3 and trigger points are common and can be worrisomely intense but arent dangerous.4 Most patients are much better off when they feel confident about these things. The power of justified, rational confidence is a huge factor in back pain.5 Sadly, many healthcare professionals continue to perpetuate the idea of fragile backs,6 which undermines that valuable confidence.
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Mechanical Lower Back Pain
Because it represents 97% of cases, mechanical low back pain deserves to be discussed first. To determine the factors that bring out the pain, the doctor will consider the following causes of mechanical low back pain:
- Muscle strain.
- Spondylolisthesis .
- Osteoarthritis .
- Spinal stenosis .
Low back pain that gets worse with sitting may indicate a herniated lumbar disc . This is because certain positions of the body can change the amount of pressure that an out-of-place disc can press on a nerve. This is one reason we suggest to people with low back pain to periodically get up and stretch or walk around rather than continually stay sitting. Acute onset, that is, pain that comes on suddenly, may suggest a herniated disc or a muscle strain, as opposed to a more gradual onset of pain, which fits more with osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.