Sharp Lower Back Pain is Caused by What?
Published on: May 14, 2021

Published By: Southwest Physical Therapy

Sharp lower back pain

Symptoms of the sharp lower back pain

A problem in your hip or spine is what typically causes severe pain in your lower back, but it can also originate from your internal organs. The accompanying symptoms of acute, severe lower back pain and the potential causes are provided as a guide in this blog.

Sharp pain in your lower back may be accompanied by a range of symptoms

When you have acute pain in your lower back, it may be limited to either one or to both sides. The pain may also feel as if it originates from a particular spot on either the right or left side of your lower back. One or more of the following characteristics and symptoms typically accompany sharp lower back pain:

  • Radiate Through Nerves. A shooting pain may radiate into your leg through the affected nerve if your lower back problem originates from your spinal nerve roots.
  • Cause Neurologic Deficits. Neurologic symptoms may be associated with lower back pain that is caused by compression or irritation of nerves, such as tingling, numbness, a pins-and-needles sensation, and a general feeling of weakness in the leg(s). 
  • Decreased range of motion and stiffness are caused by increased spasm and tension in the surrounding muscles. 

These symptoms may be either relieved or aggravated by specific activities or postures, such as walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. The symptoms of spinal pain significantly affect your daily activities because they can become debilitating even while they typically resolve themselves in a few days to a few weeks.

Severe lower back pain commonly comes from these musculoskeletal causes 

A sudden or repetitive injury to one or more structures that support your back, such as joints, intervertebral discs, muscles, and ligaments is included in the most common causes of acute lower back pain.

Strained Muscle 

Intense flare ups of spasm, stiffness, and pain can be sent across your lower back by a pulled muscle (muscle strain injury). This injury may also be localized and cause sharp pain in the right or left side of your lower back. A muscle strain injury’s common symptoms in your lower back include:

  • Difficulty in walking or standing 
  • Sharp pain while going from a standing-to-sitting or sitting-to-standing position 
  • Acute, shooting pain that with movement intensifies 

When you lie down and elevate your knees or recline with support and elevate your legs, the pain is typically relieved. 

Herniated Disc in the Lumbar

Your spinal discs support your upper body by serving as shock absorbers between your vertebrae, and allow a wide range of movements of the lower back. Your lower spinal disc(s) may leak its inner contents if they herniate, compressing or irritating a nearby spinal nerve root. A variety of symptoms are caused by the resulting cascade of inflammatory events, such as:

  • A dull ache or sharp pain under the foot or along the outer side
  • Burning feeling in the calf, buttock, and/or thigh
  • Numbness, tingling, and weakness in the leg 
  • Acute lower back stiffness and pain
  • During certain activities, such as strenuous exercise or lifting heavy objects, pain is increased 

It is called sciatica when these symptoms originate from your sciatic nerve roots (L4 to S3).

By performing specific types of lumbar extension exercises and taking anti-inflammatory medications, herniated disc symptoms may be relieved, and this in turn may also help heal the disc. When significant neural compression occurs with severe symptoms, more intense medical treatment(s) may be required.

Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis muscle is affected by this pain syndrome, which is located deep in your buttock. Your hip and buttock become painful if you have piriformis syndrome, and this pain may be referred to your lower back. Included in the common symptoms are:

  • Burning feeling or a warm sensation along the back of your thigh
  • Sharp, searing pain in the buttock that increases while sitting for a long time 
  • Acute lower back stiffness and pain

Pain-relieving medication may relieve piriformis syndrome pain. In severe cases, muscle pain and stiffness may be relieved with the help of prescribed muscle relaxants (not over the counter). Physical therapy and piriformis muscle stretch are usually included in long-term management.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Your sacroiliac joint (SI) connects the bottom of your spine to your pelvis on each side, and dysfunction and inflammation of it is caused by a condition called sacroiliitis. This may cause:

  • Positional flare-ups that may occur when you climb stairs, lie on the affected side, or move from standing to sitting 
  • Sharp, shooting, or stabbing pain felt directly over your affected joint – on the left or right side of your buttock and lower back
  • The back of your thigh feels a burning sensation 

The acute symptoms may be reduced with the help of a combination of sacroiliac joint exercises, postural correction, and pain-relieving medications. If the joints irritate nearby nerve tissues because they are severely inflamed, then they may require medical treatments such as radio frequency ablation.

The root cause of pain can be difficult to self-diagnose since the actual presentation of these conditions can vary significantly even as these are relatively common patterns. Furthermore, severe lower back pain can possibly occur with no identifiable cause – which is a condition called nonspecific lower back pain.

Acute back pain due to inflammation of internal organs

Pain in your lower back may be a sign of infection or the irritation/inflammation of an internal organ may cause it to occur. Organs of the abdominal, pelvic, or mid-back regions can be generalized throughout the area or cause pain specifically in the left or right side of your lower back.

Lower back pain stemming from internal organs include common examples such as:

  • Appendicitis. A sharp pain in the back and lower right abdomen can be caused by an inflamed appendix.
  • Ulcerative Colitis. Sharp back pain on one or both sides of the abdomen and lower back and abdominal cramping can be caused by persistent inflammation of the large intestine (colon).
  • Pancreatitis. Inflammation of the pancreas can cause a lower left back pain, and at the same time pain in the upper abdomen as well.
  • Kidney Infection. Urinary tract infections (UTI) are what usually start kidney infections, which cause inflammation and pain on the right or left lower back area, depending on the kidney affected.
  • Kidney Stones. A kidney stone moving inside the ureter or the kidney causes acute lower back pain; the ureter is a thin tube that connects the bladder to the kidney. Depending on the kidney that is affected, the pain is typically localized to the right or left side.

Specific conditions may cause women to develop lower back pain, such as pregnancy, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.

You can help improve function in your legs and back by caring for your lower back pain to reduce the symptoms. Some underlying problems may cause your pain to become chronic and last for months, though lower back pain generally subsides in a few weeks.

To help understand if your pain originates from an internal organ or from your hip and/or lower spine, please consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis of your lower back problem. Relevant medical tests can be conducted by your doctor to properly diagnose your pain and formulate an effective treatment plan. Physical therapy helps keep you healthy and helps you prevent injury. The great thing is that you can always find physical therapy near you. Your friendly neighborhood Southwest Physical Therapy works wonders with myofascial release therapy to keep your pain at bay and boost your mobility. Therefore, you are very fortunate to be in our jurisdiction because we are your physical therapy clinic near you in the Big Apple’s Brooklyn, NY. Call us TODAY for your FREE phone consultation and book your appointment. Or just drop on in – for the instant you walk through our door we’re family and you won’t be interrupting nor get kicked out. We truly care and know you’ve suffered enough already with your condition that our world-class physical therapists can resolve. Come and receive the pain relief and improved mobility you’ve been dreaming about!

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