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Causes of Sudden Lower Back Pain

Madhura Pandit Jun 6, 2019
Stress and improper lifestyle are the common causes for lower back pain in people. As it can be a symptoms of a serious condition, it should be minded immediately. Here is detailed information on the causes and remedies for the same.
Back pain is usually caused due to an injury to a muscle or a ligament. Injury or trauma can also lead to Cauda equina syndrome which is an emergency condition. Sedentary lifestyle, that most of us follow, is one of the major causes of back pain. However, although a dull aching pain may be a common condition, sudden and severe pain is not.


Muscle Sprain

Sudden stretching or tearing of any back muscle or damage to the ligament can lead to sudden and severe lower back pain. This occurs due to improper sitting, bending, or lifting heavy objects. Muscle injuries are commonly observed among athletes and dancers.


Inflammation of the sciatic nerve causes sciatica. The sciatic nerve extends from the lower back to the legs; and hence, the pain is also experienced in the back, buttocks and legs. Sciatica pain is a sudden shooting pain with a burning sensation that is often experienced only in one part of the body.

Herniated Disc

Herniated disc, or the slipped disc, is another significant cause of sudden lower back pain. When these discs, present between vertebrae, get damaged due to injury, they bulge or rupture. This is known as herniated disc. Sudden pressure on the lower back, injury, or improper movement can result in herniated disc.


Spondylolysis is a common cause of pain in the lower back. It is defined as a condition caused due to defect or disorder in the vertebrae. Cervical spondylolysis and lumbar spondylolysis are more common than other types. There are many causes of spondylolysis, a congenital defect being the foremost. It can also result from an injury, trauma or a fracture.

Kidney Disorders

In most of the cases, severe lower back pain in men and women is caused due to disorders of the kidney, like kidney infection or kidney stones. Excruciating back pain, lower abdominal pain, disorders while urination, swelling, etc., are some of the other symptoms observed if one suffers from disorders of the kidneys.


Women often complain of back pain during pregnancy. This is very common and is considered normal only if the pain is not excruciating or accompanied with other symptoms.
Back pain occurs due to the extra weight that the woman puts on during pregnancy. As the weight is distributed around the uterus, women experience lower back pain. Sometimes, hormonal imbalance or improper posture can also be the cause of back pain in women.

What to Look For

Explaining the type and nature of your back pain appropriately to the doctor will help in easy and quicker diagnosis. Here are the things you should look out for and explain to your health care provider. These are red flags or the warning signs that will help detect severe underlying causes.
  • Back pain that comes and goes
  • Back pain that worsens with time
  • Back pain that aggravates while sleeping, bending, getting up, etc.
  • Sudden back pain that wakes you at night
  • Back pain accompanied with other symptoms like abdominal pain, numbness, etc.
  • Back pain accompanied with weight loss, fever, etc.
  • Severe back pain in pregnant women
  • Back pain that is not relieved with home remedies


It is recommended to consult the doctor immediately in case you experience sudden back pain. The doctor will prescribe respective treatment after diagnosing the cause of pain. Medication like painkillers, anti-inflammatory painkillers, muscle relaxants can help ease the pain. In certain cases, surgery may even be required to treat the underlying cause.
On the other hand, in most cases, non-surgical treatments like acupressure or physiotherapy can be effective. Using ice pack is an effective home remedy that can be used immediately when you experience pain. Complete bed rest is essential for treating lower back pain.


  • You should take adequate amounts of rest, avoid any activity that can cause stress, strain or pain in muscles.
  • You should also remember that back pain can be prevented simply by adopting proper sitting and sleeping postures.
  • Similarly, extra care should be taken when participating in any sports or athletics.
  • You should try to reduce stress as much as possible using any of the effective methods like yoga, meditation, etc.
Following these methods can prevent back pain to a great extent. You need to follow precautionary measures even after the underlying cause is treated completely. Painkillers and any other medication should be taken only after consulting the doctor. Take care!
Disclaimer: This is meant for informative purposes, and should not be substituted for medical advice.