In the case of acute low back pain (in short: LBP), piercing pain occurs in the area of the lower back, completely out of the blue. Usually, the trigger is a harmless movement during exercise or daily activities. Even a simple movement such as bending down, turning or straightening up can trigger low back pain. Due to the severity of the back pain, a herniated disc is often assumed as the cause. However, acute low back pain often has more harmless causes and will heal without complications.
Acute low back pain
Causes and treatment options
Recognizing acute low back pain
Acute onset low back pain – also commonly known as lumbago – is a very strong, piercing pain that suddenly appears in the area of the lumbar spine. Due to this shooting pain, movement is initially restricted or not possible at all. Even the smallest movement is so painful that affected people remain in a bent-over position. The pain and the resulting posture to help relieve this pain, cause cramping of the muscles in the lower back, which, in turn, increases the pain – an agonizing situation for those afflicted.
Causes of acute low back pain
Acute low back pain is usually triggered by everyday stresses on the spine and the back during exercise and general daily activities. Due to the severity of the back pain, a herniated disc is often assumed as the cause. This condition, however, is rarely responsible for low back pain. Lumbago is mainly caused by a blockage of an intervertebral joint or by tense or cramping back muscles. Inappropriate mechanical stress and overexertion are the most common causes of acute low back pain.
Acute low back pain – treatment duration
After lumbago, it is best to rest for a day or two. After that, however, it is important to slowly get back to daily and usual movements. The pain may persist for another four to five days. During certain movements – such as turning or bending down – it is possible that slight pain occurs in the lower back for up to another two weeks after acute low back pain. If the pain does not subside after one to two days, if accompanying urination or bowel movement problems occur or if you notice numbness or paralysis in the legs, contact your doctor as quickly as possible.
First steps in case of acute low back pain
In case of lumbago, rest is the first remedy of choice. Since sitting and standing are often painful, walking slowly or lying down is recommended. It is best to lie flat on the back, with legs elevated. In order to relieve strain on the lower back, the legs should be at a right angle at the hips and knees. To achieve this, cushions and blankets can be placed in such a way as to form a step with a 90 degree angle. The legs can be put on top of this. This position may not be particularly comfortable but effectively alleviates the pain. Alternatively, you can lie flat on the floor, placing the lower legs on a chair. In addition, heat treatments such as a hot water bottle, warming cherry stone pillows, warming creams or a hot bath will relax the muscles and decrease pain.
Acute low back pain – treatment and prevention
The treatment of low back pain primarily focuses on pain relief. People affected from low back pain will usually be prescribed anti-inflammatory painkillers as well as medication that relieves muscle cramps. Additionally, slow movements, heat treatment and lying down with your legs elevated are recommended.
In the event of an intervertebral joint blockage, manual resetting of the vertebra by a physiotherapist may be necessary.
Physiotherapy, massages and acupuncture can strengthen the back muscles in the long term to avoid lumbago in the future.
As tense back muscles can also be caused by stress, applying progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen has proven very effective. This is a relaxation technique focuses on tightening and relaxing specific muscle groups in sequence. Other methods such as autogenic training or yoga can also have positive effects on the back.
Acute pain relief and follow-up care using back supports
After an episode of acute low back pain, some people suffer from persistent or intermittently recurring back pain. Medical back supports help conventional treatment, and can contribute in the prevention of future low back pain. Supports will also protect and relieve strain on the back during exercise or work. Back supports such as the Bauerfeind LumboTrain stabilize the lumbar spine during and after acute low back pain, thus alleviating pain and easing tension. The active support features a triangular massage pad with nubs massaging the area of the lumbar spine while it is worn. The spine is also stabilized and relieved by the support.
Thanks to the breathable and very stretchy material, the active support has great wearing comfort and is easy to put on. The back support can also be adjusted to ensure a perfect fit for all body shapes. And the LumboTrain Lady variant is tailored specifically to the characteristics of the female body.