What To Do About Sudden Lower Back Pain

So many people suffer from debilitating back pain that some estimates indicate 4 out of 5 adults suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Often that back pain comes on suddenly and severely. We often hear people say they “threw their back out” but really they mean that they moved one way and their spine moved the other way. It’s called subluxation and the most common cause of this is a muscle imbalance.

A subluxation generally occurs when you perform a movement you’ve done hundreds of time, probably even a few times the day the sudden pain comes on. When a muscle is imbalanced, it is weakened and you may not realize it at the time. In fact you’ve probably experienced a series of very small traumas that went unnoticed.

At some point the small traumas exacerbate the back problem and sudden pain ensues. 

Most of the time this sudden back pain will resolve before any type of back rehabilitation is required. However the nature of sudden back pain means that medical attention will probably be necessary to address the pain and limited mobility. If the pain is mild but lasts more than 2 months, some form of rehab will be necessary.


Before you can get treatment for sudden lower back pain you will need to get diagnosed so you can see what is causing the pain. In the days or weeks leading up to the diagnostic appointment you should take note of where exactly you are experiencing the pain. By pinpointing the location of the pain, your physician will be able to determine the underlying cause of the pain because rarely is it due to throwing out the back.

The location of the pain can also help find the right treatment for that specific area. Take note of where the back pain is, when the pain occurs and what activities you perform when the pain is at its worst. This information will help both diagnosis and treatment for the pain.

If you experience symptoms such as shooting pain down the lower back, buttocks and thighs, numbness or tingling then you have a pinched or compressed sciatic nerve. You will know that it is sciatica because the pain will be localized to one side of your body and in some rare instances, both sides.

Treating Sudden Back Pain

The good news is that sudden lower back pain can be treated and even cured in most instances. The keys to successful treatment however are an accurate diagnosis and proper rehab. Do not allow the pain and discomfort to persist for longer than a month without seeking medical attention.

Most of the time this pain can be treated or cured with physical therapy and massage therapy, sometimes combined with alternative treatments such as acupressure. In nearly all instances, some form of pain and anti-inflammatory medication is required so that pain therapy can begin.

In extreme cases, surgery may be required if other forms of therapy have proven unsuccessful.

Since muscle imbalance is the primary cause of sudden pain in the lower back, preventative measures can help ease the pain and prevent this pain in the future. Daily stretching can relax the muscles, while resistance exercises strengthen the muscles to keep the well balanced. Regular exercise and stretching is a great way to keep the muscles strong enough for daily movement and prevent muscle imbalances.

These proactive measures will go a long way to prevent the onset of sudden back pain while also helping to alleviate current back pain. 

« Back Pain Articles

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
my avatar

Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

Sign Up Now For LESS PAIN, MORE LIFE Our FREE E-Newsletter…

Kiss your pain goodbye when you sign up to receive our free, LIVE PAIN FREE email newsletter, which is always full of the latest and most powerful, pain relieving information from the world’s leading pain relief experts.

Sign Me Up!

We are 100% Anti-Spam Compliant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.