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Professionally endorsed

Severe Lower Back Pain Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

A woman touching her back because of pain

One of the most common ailments in the world is back pain. It is because the daily tasks that people do can cause the pain. However, severe lower back pain is when it persists for more than three or four weeks. The causes for severe cases would usually be underlying health conditions or injuries. Patients will usually feel a sharp, stabbing sensation in the back. Fortunately, medication and therapy can treat the pain.

The lower back is a vital part of the human body. It is where the lumbar spine is located, which carries the upper body weight. The lumbar spine allows people to move, walk, and bend. Hence, they should take care of it. This article will present the causes of back pain, which will be helpful in preventing it. In the following sections, we will also talk about the symptoms and the treatments.

Causes of Severe Lower Back Pain

People who typically experience severe lower back pain are the elderly, as chronic pain is age-related. For instance, there is the degenerative disc disease. The discs are in between the vertebrae to act as a cushion and make the spine flexible. As people age, the discs become weak and brittle due to wear and tear. Thus, it causes pain, and it spreads to the legs sometimes. 

Another underlying cause of chronic conditions is osteoarthritis (OA). It is the most common type of arthritis. The pain occurs anywhere along the spine, but it is usually in the lower back. When people are inactive, they tend to experience stiffness in the back. OA is one more condition that happens with age. The cartilage in the bone wears away because of constant use every day. 

Accidents and injuries may also cause severe pain. Many of those who have gotten into a car injury reported that they experienced lower back pain. Strains and sprains are soft tissue injuries that develop after an accident, more specifically, a motorcycle collision. Intense collisions can make the discs bulge, which then progresses into herniated discs.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors can increase the chances of people developing severe pain in the area. Here are some of them:

  • Obesity – excess weight can induce more pain. Though it might not directly impact lower back pain, it can prolong the recovery period of people.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle – muscles will weaken when people lack regular exercise or even constant movements. 
  • Improper Posture – the lumbar spine cannot support the body properly because of this. Moreover, lifting heavy objects without proper posture can trigger more pain.
  • Too Much Repetitions – certain sports that involve repetitive motions of body parts like the torso can provoke the likelihood of pain.

A man experiencing back pain

Symptoms of Severe Lower Back Pain

Discomfort and inability to be active persist when people have severe lower back pain. It ranges from a dull ache to sharp and stabbing sensations. Oftentimes, the pain will reach the buttocks and the legs. There may also be tingling or numbness. These sensations make it more difficult for them to do daily activities.

Moreover, individuals with severe pain may experience muscle spasms or tightness. It can negatively impact daily movements. Their reduced range of motion will be evident. They may have a difficult time performing simple routine tasks and activities. The act of bending, twisting, or lifting can be excruciating for them. Also, it affects their ability to stand up straight or sit with proper posture. 

Another symptom is extreme fatigue. Patients may feel persistent discomfort. Furthermore, they may experience disrupted sleep due to intense pain. Hence, it can lead to exhaustion. They might observe that their energy levels are not like they used to be. This would be more evident when doing simple tasks as they may still feel weary.

When to See a Doctor

Typically, people can treat the pain on their own without seeking medical attention. However, there are cases when they might have to escalate the matter to professionals. One occasion is when the pain lasts more than six weeks or the pain worsens as time goes by. It is a clear indication that something more serious is happening to the body.

Furthermore, it might be concerning if this is accompanied by unexplained weight loss. Moreover, they should be cautious when they experience irregular fever. These things might signal underlying conditions like infections and spinal cord issues. They might need more specific treatments to recover.

A woman using iTENS in the back

Treatments for Severe Lower Back Pain

There are three main treatments for severe lower back pain. Firstly, medication and therapy. People can get a pain reliever without a prescription. On the other hand, doctors may prescribe drugs for those with more serious cases. In addition, they can go through physical therapy. It can strengthen the lower back and improve flexibility. Hot and cold therapies may also be an alternative.

Secondly, a lifestyle change can treat the condition. Maintaining a healthy body weight through diet helps. Moreover, exercising regularly can lessen lower back strains. There are exercises that specifically target the core muscles. Core muscles include the lower back. When they improve this area of the body, the lumbar spine can be a better support for the upper body. Practicing good posture can also be an aid.

Lastly, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy is a non-invasive option for treatment. It is gaining more recognition because of this. People can perform the therapy without medical supervision. They can buy handheld or wireless devices like iTENS from iTENS Australia. The machine delivers low-voltage electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves, which prevents the sensations of pain.


Once pain is treated, people must take appropriate measures to prevent pain from coming back. One method to do this is self-care. Stress can also contribute to back pain. Hence, they must eat, drink, and sleep well. Eating the right food can prevent the development of diseases. Hydrating with water maintains the health of the spine. Sleeping the right amount can help as well.

In relation to self-care, they can practice yoga. The activity can enhance flexibility and can combat stress. Furthermore, massages can be a good way to reduce tension in the body. It can also maintain the alignment of the spine.


Various factors can cause severe lower back pain. Underlying medical conditions, as well as accidents and injuries, are some of them. The pain ranges from throbbing to sharp, shooting sensations. Professionals typically treat it with medication and physical therapy. Aside from these methods, TENS therapy can help alleviate pain non-invasively. Moreover, it is 100% drug-free. Hence, they do not need to worry about side effects. They can utilise the TENS machine to support their goals.

Prevention strategies give people the opportunity to experience less pain in the future. Small yet consistent habits like drinking water every day and getting quality sleep are beneficial. People can proactively protect themselves from severe pain when they discipline themselves and have a good approach towards a healthy lifestyle. A healthy spine can be advantageous. It may seem fragile, but it does much for the body overall.

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