Acute – or sudden onset – back painis common, and usually not serious. Although at the time the pain can be so debilitating you feel as if it’s the end of the world. You may be not able to sit or drive, go to work or lift up your kids. Or perhaps you may be able to do daily tasks but are unable to carry on with sports and physical activities. Your experience of pain and disability is all relative to you, the individual.
Past experience and the emotions you attach to your back pain will influence your pain experience and your recovery. Acute back pain is usually caused by muscle spasm and inflammation along the facet joints, or it can be related to disc problems. There are a few things that can contribute to this. The exact cause is not known; often something triggers it – for example bending forwards, backwards, twisting your back while lifting or just an awkward position (like reaching into the back of the car boot).
It doesn’t have to be a heavy object or dramatic movement and is often a motion you have done multiple times before. But on this occasion ‘something goes’ in your back.
Muscle spasm is often a protective response, resulting in pain and limited movement.
Severe pain may restrict you from sitting or standing comfortably, and often the best relief is found lying down. You cannot place blame on weak core abdominal muscles, poor posture or being too flexible or too inflexible.
Acute back pain can happen to anyone. Yes, you can protect your back by being fit, active and having strong muscles, good posture and using safe lifting techniques; however, this acute pain is often a case of ‘wrong place at the wrong time for your spine