What are the Causes of Severe Back Pain?

Lori Smith

Sudden severe back pain frequently occurs as a result of poor posture or muscle strain, and usually goes away following a few days of rest and icepack applications. Some people find that a deep tissue massage can be equally helpful to loosen tightened muscles. In other instances, the reason for extreme discomfort is a pinched nerve or slipped disc that can result from an injury. Older adults may experience severe back pain due to changes of the spine and bones that naturally occur in the aging process. Osteoporosis and spinal stenosis are among the most common causes of severe back pain in mature patients.

Poor posture may be the cause of back pain.
Poor posture may be the cause of back pain.

If acute pain occurs abruptly while performing certain exercises or physically demanding tasks, chances are good that a muscle was strained in the process. For example, this can develop when an individual tries to lift a heavy object improperly, using bad posture. The pain a person experiences is usually quite powerful and the onset of discomfort is often sudden. People may even have difficulty sitting or walking without experiencing intense pain immediately after injuries like this.

Muscle strains can cause sudden severe back pain.
Muscle strains can cause sudden severe back pain.

Many times, severe back pain is simply a symptom of poor posture. This is especially common for individuals who spend several hours at a time hunched over a computer. Even teenagers can feel the effects of it after playing video games or surfing the Internet for several hours. Taking frequent breaks to stretch may be helpful, along with investing in an ergonomic desk chair.

Severe back pain may develop when improperly lifting a heavy object.
Severe back pain may develop when improperly lifting a heavy object.

Pinched nerves can create severe back pain, too. The condition is usually caused by an injury that produces swelling in the back, neck, or other areas of the body. In addition to pain, it may also trigger numbness and tingling in the arms or legs, depending on the location of the compressed nerve.

Similar to strained muscles and pain associated with bad posture, a pinched nerve is usually a temporary condition. If treated with plenty of rest and intermittent ice applications, symptoms generally improve. Occasionally, physical therapy and medication is prescribed. In extreme cases, when the condition is chronic, or when other remedies are unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended for treatment and relief.

Other conditions known to cause severe back pain include osteoporosis, which is more common in senior citizens, particularly women. Sometimes, however, young adults and men can be diagnosed with the affliction. Osteoporosis is a disease that results in a person’s loss of bone mass. Not only does the condition often trigger severe back pain, but also the bones may become notably fragile and break easily. Treatment usually includes physical therapy and medication.

Symptoms of severe back pain can result from a chronic health condition, such as arthritis.
Symptoms of severe back pain can result from a chronic health condition, such as arthritis.

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: