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    What Causes Sharp Lower Back Pain?

    Learn about the different causes of acute and sharp lower back pain that may occur on one or both sides of your lower back, with or without accompanying leg pain.

    What Causes Sharp Lower Back Pain?


    By Benjamin Bjerke, MD

    Severe pain in your lower back typically occurs due to a problem in your spine or hip but may also originate from your internal organs. This blog provides a guide to the accompanying symptoms and potential causes of acute, severe lower back pain.

    Lower Back Strain Video

    Lower back strain is a common cause of sharp lower back pain. Watch: Lower Back Strain Video

    Range of symptoms that may accompany sharp pain the lower back

    Acute pain in your lower back may be limited to one or both sides. You may also feel that the pain originates from a particular spot on the left or right side of your lower back. Sharp lower back pain typically includes one or more of the following symptoms and characteristics:

    Decrease in motion. Severe lower back pain is typically associated with increased tension and spasm in the surrounding muscles, causing stiffness and a decreased range of motion.Radiate through nerves. If your lower back problem originates from your spinal nerve roots, a shooting pain may radiate into your leg through the affected nerve.Cause neurologic deficits. Lower back pain that is caused by irritation or compression of nerves may be associated with neurologic symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, a pins-and-needles sensation, and a general feeling of weakness in the leg(s).

    These symptoms may be aggravated or relieved by specific postures or activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. While spinal pain typically resolves in a few days to weeks, the symptoms can become debilitating, significantly affecting your daily activities.


    Common musculoskeletal causes of severe lower back pain

    The most common causes of acute lower back pain include a sudden or repetitive injury to one or more structures that support your back, such as muscles, ligaments, joints, and intervertebral discs.

    Watch Lower Back Strain Video

    Muscle strain

    A pulled muscle (muscle strain injury) can send intense flareups of pain, spasm, and stiffness across your lower back. This injury may also be localized and cause sharp pain in the left or right side of your lower back. Common symptoms of a muscle strain injury in your lower back include:

    Acute, shooting pain that intensifies with movement

    Difficulty in standing or walking

    Sharp pain while going from a sitting-to-standing or standing-to-sitting position

    The pain is typically relieved when you recline with support and elevate your legs or lie down and elevate your knees. Following the PRICE protocol may also help relieve pain and heal the injured muscle.

    See Pulled Back Muscle Treatment

    Watch Lumbar Herniated Disc Video

    Lumbar herniated disc

    Your spinal discs serve as shock absorbers between your vertebrae, support your upper body, and allow a wide range of lower back movements. If your lower spinal disc(s) herniates, it may leak its inner contents, irritating or compressing a nearby spinal nerve root.1 The resulting cascade of inflammatory events causes a variety of symptoms, such as:

    Acute lower back pain and stiffness

    Increased pain during certain activities, such as lifting heavy objects or strenuous exercise

    Burning feeling in the buttock, thigh, and/or calf

    Sharp pain or a dull ache along the outer side or under the foot

    Weakness, numbness, and tingling in the leg

    When these symptoms originate from your sciatic nerve roots (L4 to S3), it’s called sciatica.2

    Herniated disc symptoms may be relieved by taking anti-inflammatory medications and performing specific types of lumbar extension exercises, which may also help heal the disc. More intense medical treatment(s) may be required when significant neural compression occurs with severe symptoms.

    Read more: Lumbar Herniated Disc: What You Should Know

    Watch Piriformis Syndrome Video

    Piriformis syndrome

    This pain syndrome affects the piriformis muscle, located deep in your buttock. If you have piriformis syndrome, your buttock and hip become painful, and this pain may be referred to your lower back.3 Common symptoms include:

    Sharp, searing pain in the buttock that increases while sitting for a long time

    Acute lower back pain and stiffness

    Warm sensation or a burning feeling along the back of your thigh

    Piriformis syndrome pain may be relieved by taking pain-relieving medication. In severe cases, muscle relaxants (obtained through a prescription) may help relieve muscle stiffness and pain. Long term management usually includes piriformis muscle stretch and physical therapy.

    Read more about Piriformis Syndrome Treatment

    Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Video

    Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

    Sacroiliitis, a condition that causes inflammation and dysfunction of your sacroiliac (SI) joint, which connects the bottom of your spine to your pelvis on each side may cause4:

    Sharp, stabbing, or shooting pain felt directly over your affected joint – on the right or left side of your lower back and buttock

    Burning sensation along the back of your thigh

    Source : www.spine-health.com

    Sharp Back Pain: Stabbing Pain in Back

    Find out what makes sharp pains in lower back different from other back pains and how your doctor can diagnose the cause of your pain.


    Sharp Back Pain: What to Know

    Learn what sharp back pain is and what it can mean — from a muscle spasm to a problem disk.

    By Jane Parry

    Medically Reviewed by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD

    Reviewed: December 15, 2016

    Medically Reviewed


    Ouch! A sudden sharp pain in your back can stop you in your tracks. Unlike the dull ache of sitting too long at a computer or the gradual neck stiffness from too much driving, the cause of a sudden sharp pain in your back (also known as acute back pain) is not always obvious.

    In fact, there are a number of common and less-common causes for acute back pain, and they are both mechanical and medical in nature.

    Diagnosing Sharp Back Pain: Common Causes

    Acute, sharp back pain caused by a mechanical problem within the back (meaning a problem with the bones, disks, ligaments, or muscles of the back) is one of the most common types of back pain. Some specific causes of acute, sharp back pain include:

    Muscle spasm. A muscle spasm is a prolonged contraction or stiffening of the back muscles, which can be triggered by trauma or repetitive strain. The back muscles spasm to protect the spine from further injury. A spasm can produce sharp back pain in either the upper or lower back.Herniated disk. A herniated disk — also called a bulging disk, slipped disk, ruptured disk, or pinched nerve — can also cause sudden, sharp back pain. It can result from the improper lifting of heavy objects or overly strenuous activity. Sharp back pain that shoots down through the buttocks into the legs, called sciatica, is a common symptom of a herniated disk.Compression fracture. This term refers to a fracture of the spine bones (vertebrae). It can be caused by trauma (a fall or car accident) or by weakened bones (osteoporosis), and the pain is often very sharp.Infection. Sometimes the vertebrae themselves can become infected in a rare condition known as osteomyelitis. With infection, back pain is usually accompanied by fever and other symptoms.Other Causes of Sharp Back Pain

    "Occasionally, sharp back pain that seems to be coming from the back is not really back pain at all," says Cynthia Haines, MD, chief medical officer at HealthDay, a daily health news website based in Norwalk, Connecticut.

    For example, rupture of the main artery in the abdomen (called a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm) can be a very serious cause of sharp back pain. Also, kidney infection (pyelonephritis) and an infection of the lining of the lungs and chest (pleurisy) can mimic back pain. In these cases, treatment of the underlying cause will usually resolve the back pain.

    Keep in mind that it is always best to consult with your doctor.

    "Anytime you experience a pain that comes on suddenly, with no apparent cause, you should call your doctor," says Dr. Haines. She also advises a call to your doctor if the pain you are experiencing is anything other than very minor.


    Best Home Remedies for Back Pain: Advice From a Physical Therapist

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    Other symptoms that require immediate medical attention include back pain with fever, numbness or tingling, shooting pains in the extremities or groin, progressive weakness, difficulty walking, or loss of bowel or bladder control.

    Bottom line: There are many causes of sharp back pain, but most have simple treatment solutions. By talking with your doctor, you can determine the cause and get on the road to recovery — and back to your everyday activities as soon as possible.


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    The Best and Worst Shoes for Back Pain

    Experiencing back pain? Here’s what two podiatrists recommend for choosing shoes that won’t harm and might help.

    By Scott Fontana April 16, 2021

    Anti-inflammatory Diet Could Help Reduce Low Back Pain

    New research suggests that what you eat may make it more — or less — likely you’ll have low back pain.

    By Becky Upham February 22, 2021

    Best Home Remedies for Back Pain: Advice From a Physical Therapist

    Try these expert tips for relieving low back pain — and potentially keeping it away!

    By Becky Upham August 28, 2020

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    Source : www.everydayhealth.com

    Sharp Pain in Lower Back: Causes and When to See a Doctor

    Although back pain is usually described as dull or aching, it can also feel sharp and stabbing. Sharp pain in the lower back could be caused by many things, from a simple muscle strain to a kidney infection. We’ll help you narrow down the underlying cause, offer tips, and tell you when it’s best to call your doctor.

    What’s Causing This Sharp Pain in My Lower Back?

    Medically reviewed by William Morrison, M.D. — Written by Corinne O'Keefe Osborn — Updated on February 28, 2019

    Overview About 80 percent Trusted Source Trusted Source

    of adults experience lower back pain at least once. Back pain is usually described as dull or aching, but can also feel sharp and stabbing.

    Many things can cause sharp lower back pain, including muscle strains, herniated disks, and kidney conditions.

    Causes of sharp pain in lower back

    Muscle strain

    Muscle strains are the most common cause of lower back pain. Strains happen when you stretch or tear a muscle or tendon. They’re usually caused by injuries, either from sports or making certain motions, such as lifting a heavy box.

    Muscle strains can also cause muscle spasms, which may feel like sharp jolts of pain.

    Other symptoms of muscle strain in your lower back include:

    muscle aches stiffness difficulty moving

    pain radiating into your buttocks or legs

    Muscle strains usually go away on their own within a few weeks. In the meantime, you can try over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to help manage your pain. Using an ice pack or heating pad on your lower back a few times a day may also help.

    Muscle strain is the most common cause of lower back pain, but several other conditions can also cause it.

    Herniated disk

    A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc, happens when one of the discs that sits between your spinal bones ruptures. Slipped discs are common in the lower back, and sometimes put pressure on the surrounding nerves, causing a sharp pain.

    Other symptoms include:

    pain and weakness in the lower back

    numbness or tingling

    pain in your buttocks, thighs, or calves

    shooting pain when you move

    muscle spasms


    The sciatic nerve is your largest nerve. It spans your lower back, buttocks, and legs. When something like a herniated disc puts pressure on it or pinches it, you might feel a sharp pain in your lower back with pain radiating down your leg.

    This is known as sciatica. It usually only affects one side of your body.

    Other symptoms include:

    mild to excruciating pain

    a burning sensation

    an electric shock sensation

    numbness and tingling

    foot pain

    If you’re having trouble finding relief from sciatica pain, try these six stretches for relief.

    Compression fracture

    A compression fracture in the lower back, also known as a vertebral compression fracture, happens when one of your vertebrae breaks and collapses. Injuries and underlying conditions that weaken your bones, such as osteoporosis, can cause it.

    Symptoms of a compression fracture vary depending on the cause, but usually include:

    mild to severe back pain

    leg pain

    weakness or numbness in the lower extremities

    Spinal conditions

    Some spinal conditions, such as spinal stenosis or lordosis, can also cause sharp lower back pain in both adults and children. Spinal stenosis causes the spaces in your spine to narrow, causing pain.

    Lordosis refers to the natural S-shaped curve of your spine. However, some people have a more dramatic curvature that causes pain. Learn more about other spinal conditions that might cause pain.

    Additional symptoms of a spinal condition include:

    tingling or numbness in the legs or feet

    lower back pain

    cramping in the legs

    weakness in the legs or feet

    pain when moving


    Spinal infections can also cause sharp pain in your lower back. People often associate tuberculosis (TB) with the lungs, but it can also infect your spine. Spinal TB is rare in developed countries, but people with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of getting it.

    You can also develop an abscess on your spinal cord, though this is also rare. If the abscess is large enough, it can start to put pressure on nearby nerves. Several things can cause this, including surgery complications or injuries involving a foreign object.

    In addition to sharp pain that may radiate to your arms and legs, spinal infections can also cause:

    muscle spasms tenderness stiffness

    loss of bladder or bowel control


    Abdominal aortic aneurysm

    Your aortic artery runs straight down the middle of your body. An abdominal aortic aneurysm happens when part of this artery’s wall becomes weakened and expands in diameter. This can happen slowly over time or very suddenly.

    Symptoms include:

    back pain that’s sometimes sudden or severe

    pain in the abdomen or side of your abdomen

    a pulsating feeling around your abdomen


    Many types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (OA), can affect your back. When this happens, it causes the cartilage between your vertebrae to wear down, which can be painful.

    Additional symptoms of arthritis in your back include:

    stiffness that goes away after moving

    pain that gets worse at the end of the day

    For relief, try these gentle exercises for arthritis back pain.

    Kidney conditions

    Sometimes you can feel pain from your kidneys in your lower back, especially if you have kidney stones or a kidney infection. You’re more likely to feel kidney-related back pain on one side.

    Source : www.healthline.com

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