Acute Low Back Pain

Acute Low Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Acute low back pain (LBP) is a common complaint that affects millions of individuals at any given time. It can occur suddenly and can last for days, weeks, or even months. It is most often caused by injury or strain, making it an important condition to understand and be able to recognize and treat.

The most common symptom of acute low back pain is discomfort, soreness, or stiffness in the lower back, usually radiating into the buttocks and legs. It can also cause difficulty standing for long periods, as well as difficulty changing positions or even lying down. It can even cause a problem with walking, along with pain while urinating. Other symptoms may include nausea, weakness, and tingling or numbness in the legs.

The primary cause of acute low back pain is injury or strain to the muscles and ligaments in the lower back. This can happen as the result of a traumatic incident such as a fall, or through repetitive motions such as bending or lifting objects. Other causes can include degenerative conditions, such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs, as well as a pinch or tear in the muscles surrounding the spine.

Treatment of acute low back pain

The treatment for acute low back pain typically depends on the cause of the pain. For instance, if the pain is due to a muscle strain, then treatment may involve rest, ice, heat, and/or anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy may also be necessary to help strengthen the muscles and ligaments in the back, as well as stretching exercises. In more serious cases, surgery may be necessary to repair herniated or ruptured discs or to stabilize the spine.

Home care tips for acute low back pain

  • Rest: Taking rests between activities, as well as getting plenty of sleep, can help ease the pain.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Heat: Using heat at the affected area can help with muscle relaxation, which can reduce pain.
  • Exercise: Light, low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming can help strengthen the muscles in the back, which can help alleviate pain.
  • Medication: Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce pain and inflammation.