The Southeastern Spine Institute

How Can I Tell What’s Causing My Back Pain?

You can’t always know the source of sudden back pain. It can hit without warning, and it’s not always obvious what caused it. Back pain that comes on suddenly and lasts a long time is known as acute back pain. In many cases, it resolves with self-care measures after a few days to a week, but don’t take chances with your back.

When sudden back pain is intense, you need to see an expert in back care. If you decided to wait, but the effects of acute back pain continue to linger after a couple of weeks, call the experts at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mount Pleasant, SC as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

What Activities May Trigger Sudden Back Pain?

Experiencing trauma from a car accident or fall can trigger immediate pain. You may spontaneously injure your back while participating in contact sports. This type of searing pain can also be caused by ordinary activities such as:

  • Picking something up from an awkward position
  • Lifting or moving something heavy, such as furniture
  • Vigorous physical activity, such as exercising or yard work without regular conditioning
  • Twisting the wrong way

You may experience sudden back pain if you remain in one position for too long. Back pain can happen anywhere in your back, but it’s most common in the lower back, which supports most of your body weight.

What Are Some Possible Causes of Acute Back Pain?

Sudden injury to the muscles and tissues that support the back are the most common causes of acute back pain. Your pain may be mild or severe. The underlying cause of your pain may be due to any of several medical factors, such as:

  • Muscle spasm
  • Strain of muscles or ligaments supporting the back
  • Herniated or ruptured disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Sciatica
  • Compression fracture

When you injure your back, you may experience pain that’s burning, sharp, tingling or achy. A variety of medical conditions can sometimes trigger instantaneous back pain as well. You can’t know what’s causing your pain until you get a definitive diagnosis.

Can You Relieve Sudden Back Pain at Home?

Treatment of back pain depends on what’s causing it. If you’re experiencing mild to moderate pain in your back all of a sudden, it may resolve on its own in a few days. You may be able to get some relief from self-care methods including:

  • Avoiding strenuous activities for a few days
  • Using ice to reduce swelling
  • Alternating ice and heat to relieve acute back pain

Over-the-counter medications may give you some relief from discomfort. Acetaminophen interferes with pain signals being sent to the brain. Ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen are anti-inflammatory medications that can also help relieve pain.

When Do I Need to See a Doctor about Acute Back Pain?

If you’ve been in an accident or experienced any other kind of sudden trauma, you need to be evaluated immediately, especially if your back pain is severe. Consult a specialist in spinal medicine for back pain that comes on suddenly and is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, chills, numbness or muscle weakness.

If you’re concerned about any of the symptoms you’re experiencing, don’t hesitate to contact the back care experts at the Southeastern Spine Institute. They offer the latest procedures and technology in the field of back care. Call now to set up an appointment.