Severe Low Back Pain After a Minor Movement

"I bent over to pick up an object and now my lower back is in so much pain.” This is a common

Julie Cai

November 15, 2022

"I bent over to pick up an object and now my lower back is in so much pain.”

This is a common complaint that presents at our Chiro & Physio clinic in Marrickville. Individuals often report moderate to severe low back pain after a relatively minor movement, such as bending over to pick up a light object from the floor. There are multiple causes of low back pain, however this minor incident more often indicates fatigue or lack of control of the lumbo-pelvic region, rather than tissue overload. Individuals with chronic low back pain may also suffer acute exacerbations that may become more frequent and require less to initiate over time.


Signs & Symptoms of Acute Low Back Pain

The pain usually presents in the lower back area, and could be either one-sided, both sides and/or central to the spine. It can also refer to the glutes, hamstrings, or lower leg, and feel like a deep-seated ache. If it is sharp and lancinating in nature, and radiates as a narrow band down the leg, it may be radicular pain which is associated with nerve root irritation. This is commonly seen as a result of intervertebral disc prolapse or a disc bulge.

Often individuals with this acute, sudden onset of lower back pain may adopt a fixed position as a way of guarding the pain, and have severely restricted movement in all directions. The muscles around the lower back may also be tender to touch, with associated muscle spasm.


Treatment for Acute Low Back Pain

Physio & Chiro combined with rehabilitation are effective modalities for treating low back pain (Paige, 2017 & Wembeke et. al 2019) . After your Physio and Chiro has ruled out red flags, such as cauda equina, fragility fractures and cancer, treatment can start. Initial stages of treatment are targeted at pain relief, which may include releasing muscle spasm through massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, taping, acupuncture and appropriate joint mobilisation or adjustment. Further stages then involve assessing contributing factors, such as lumbopelvic control and strength, pelvic alignment or dysfunctions coming from another region of the body.

In the meantime, self-management strategies such as avoiding aggravating movements, adopting the position of greatest comfort, analgesics and certain stretches can also aid in recovery.


Our Physio & Chiro at our Allied Health Clinic situated in Sydney's Inner West are highly experienced in treating this condition in all types of individuals, including tradies, athletes, pregnant women, parents who have bent over to pick their kid's toys, office workers or anyone in the general population. If you have any further questions about how we can help with your low back pain, head over to our Contact Us page, or book in now to make an appointment.

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