Severe lower back pain causes, symptoms, relief & treatment

Severe lower back pain means that you have short term or sudden discomfort or pain anywhere in the lower part of you back. Severe lower back pain can be mild or severe and also debilitating. This pain can last a couple of days or can continue for more than one week. In severe lower back pain cases, most people are pain free after six weeks. If this pain feels more than six weeks, then this is normally considered chronic lower back pain.

Severe lower back pain is a common condition because muscles of lower area are primary stabilizers and support greatly of our body weight. Other name of severe lower back pain is backache and lumbar pain. It is one of the most common reasons people visit doctor. In United States, 5.6 percent of adults experience severe lower back pain each day.

The term severe lower back pain refers to the following:

  1. pain.
  2. Stiffness.
  3. Limited range of motion.
  4. Difficulty standing or sitting.

What is severe lower back pain?

Severe lower back pain is define as lower back pain that present for up to 6 weeks. Severe lower back pain may be experienced as stabbing, aching, well-define or vague, burning, sharp or dull pain. The intensity of severe lower back pain may range from mild to severe and also may fluctuate. This pain can radiate into one or both hips or even into the thigh area.

Severe lower back pain may begin following a strenuous activity or the jarring trauma but most time is seemingly unrelated to specific activity. This pain can begin suddenly or develop gradually.

Who experiences severe lower back pain?

At least eighty percent of individuals experience significant episode of severe lower back pain at any point in their whole lives. At any given point in time, more than fifteen percent of individuals report that, they are experiencing severe lower back pain. Some consider that the symptoms of lower back pain to be an element of the human experience.

Causes of severe lower back pain

There are several events that could lead to severe lower back pain. Most often, severe lower back pain in normally causes by an injury to the muscles or the connective tissues of the lower back. This condition could be a spasm, strain, sprain and partial tear. Some major causes of severe lower back pain including:

Muscle strain

It is one of the major causes of severe lower back pain. Most of the time, severe lower back pain is due to a muscle strain. Along with the severe pain, you may also experience many other symptoms.

Facet joint pain

This condition is another common cause of severe or sharp low back pain. Facet joint pain is often related to the mechanical problems with the spine.

Spinal fracture

You may feel sharpest and most irritating lower back pain due to Spinal fracture. This condition can also cause chronic back pain. Like the facet joint pain, spinal fractures are normally related to the mechanical disruptions into the spine.

Other common causes of severe lower back pain

Other common causes of severe lower back pain are including:

  1. Lifting heavy objects.
  2. Sudden movements.
  3. Sitting or standing in one position for long time.
  4. Injury or trauma to the back.
  5. Accidents.
  6. Menstrual cramps.
  7. Obesity.
  8. Much weight gain during pregnancy.
  9. Poor physical condition.
  10. Poor sleeping position.
  11. Bone disease.
  12. Cancer involving the spine.
  13. Fracture of the spinal cord.
  14. Ruptured or herniated disk.
  15. Sciatica.
  16. Spinal stenosis.
  17. Spine curvatures.
  18. Infection in spine.
  19. Kidney infection.
  20. Joint capsules and cartilage.

Symptoms of severe lower back pain

You may feel a variety of symptoms due to severe lower back pain. You may have a burning or tingling sensation, sharp pain or a dully achy feeling. Depending on the severity and causes, you may also have weakness in your feet and legs. Severe lower back pain can vary widely. The pain can be mild or it can be very much severe that you are unable to move. The major symptoms of severe lower back pain are including:

  1. Pain that persists for more than 2 weeks.
  2. Pain not caused due to injury.
  3. Suffered a severe accident or injury involving the low back.
  4. Swelling or redness around the spine.
  5. Pains that are spreads down your legs.
  6. Severe pains that are disrupt your daily life and also inhibit sleeping.
  7. Numbness or weakness in muscles around the lower back like buttocks, legs, or pelvis.
  8. Urinary problems such as blood in the urine and painful urination.
  9. Incontinence.
  10. Fever.

Diagnosis of lower back pain

Severe lower back pain could be diagnosed by following several medical techniques:

X-ray imaging test

It is one of the enhanced and conventional methods that can help you to diagnose the exact causes of lower back pain. Normally a conventional X-ray, often first imaging technique are used, look for the broken bone. In this technique a concentrated beam of the low-dose ionized radiation is passed through the back and then takes a picture within a few minutes. On this picture it is clearly show the bone structure and any bone fracture.

Computerized tomography or CT scan

It is one of the painless and quick processes used when bone rupture, spinal stenosis and damage the ligament that causes severe lower back pain left side. In this technique X-rays are passed through the pain area at various angles and also detected by a computerized scanner for produce two-dimensional slices of internal structures of the lower back.

Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI

It is one of the major clinical techniques to detect lower back pain. Normally this technique is used to estimate the lumbar region for bone injury or disease in nerve, tissue, muscle, blood vessels and ligament. MRI scanning equipment produces a magnetic field around the pain area of your body. Then radio waves are passed through the body to identify the fraction or pain in body.

Bone scan

It is another major technique to detect lower back pain. Normally bone scan are use to monitor and diagnose infection, disorder and fracture in the bone. In this technique a small quantity of radioactive material is normally injected into the bloodstream and also will collect in the bone, mainly in areas with some abnormality.


In this technique an infrared sensing devices are use to measure small temperature changes between two side of your body and the temperature of your specific organ. This medical technique may be use to detect the absence or presence of nerve root compression.

Ultrasound imaging

This technique is also called sonography or ultrasound scanning. Normally high-frequency sound waves are uses to obtain images inside the body. Then the sound wave echoes are recorded and also displayed as a real-time visual image. By using this technique it is also possible to view tendons, muscles and other soft tissue masses into the back.

Treatment of severe lower back pain

You can treat severe lower back pain that causes by injury or strain at home. You can follow these suggestions at the primary sign of pain to help treat it properly:

  1. You should avoid physical activity for couple of days.
  2. You can maintain physical activity or work after the first few days.
  3. You can apply ice on painful area for the first seventy two hour after the onset of pain symptoms.
  4. You can apply heat on that area after the first seventy two hour.
  5. You can also apply massage therapy for lower back pain relief.
  6. You can take over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

You may want to decrease your daily activity only for the first few of days. After that you can slowly start your daily activities. You should not perform activities that involve the twisting or heavy lifting of your back for the first six weeks after the pain begins. You should gradually start your exercise again after 2-3 weeks.

  1. Begin with some light aerobic training. Walking, swimming, riding a stationary bicycle is great example.
  2. Aerobic lower back pain exercise can develop blood flow into your back and also promote healing.
  3. Strengthening and stretching exercises are important. Starting these exercises soon after an injury and can make your pain worse.
  4. You can gain some benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapies are so useful to reduce back pain.

Severe lower back pain prevention

Once the lower back pain has subsided, you may try to consider making change you’re incorporating activities and lifestyle to help prevent future severe lower back pain. Some suggestions include:

  1. Improve your posture.
  2. Lose weight.
  3. Avoid standing for long period.
  4. Wear appropriate footwear.
  5. Use lumber support when you sitting for long period.

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