Sharp Pains in Lower Back

By: Ehren Allen, DPT, COMT

Pains in the lower back happen to most people at some point. Sedentary work days and hours on laptops and devices don't help.  

If you have sharp pains in the lower back, DON'T PANIC!  Most of the time there are easy ways to relieve it.  

Watch this VIDEO to learn some simple low back pain stretches that may help, or keep scrolling.

Sharp pains in the lower back happen to lots of people. Sitting usually contributes.Sharp Pains in Lower Back

Why Do I Have Lower Back Pain In Sitting?

The quick answer is that prolonged sitting is one of the main reasons people get low back pain. Sitting typically places the low back in a position of flexion. This means that the pelvis slides forward in the seat and the lower back rounds forward.  

Sitting posture is not an issue if you only sit occasionally during the day. But, if you sit all day or for long periods, the positions can place excessive abnormal stress on the discs in the lumbar spine or low back. The repetitive stress on the discs can lead to wear and tear on the disc and eventually produce pain in the back.

JOI Rehab can help with sharp pains in lower backSharp Pains in lower back 

Fix Low Back Pain In Sitting

The best way to fix low back pain in sitting is to keep the spine in proper position and alignment. Here's how.

  • Sit Up Straight
  • Keep the low back extended with shoulders back
  • Sit away from the back of the chair
  • Stand up every 20 to 30 minutes 
  • Use a lumbar pillow or towel roll in the small of the back


Why Does My Low Back Hurt With Driving?

The quick answer is that driving is usually worse than sitting in a chair when it comes to lower back pain. Sitting in a car exaggerates the forward-flexion position and rounds the lower spine forward even more than a chair.  

Driving can be hard on Low back pain. Proper posture can help.Bad Driving Posture

Fix Pain in Lower Back with Driving

Here are some tips to try to help lower back pain while driving.

  • Move the seat closer to the steering wheel
  • Keep your butt as far back in the seat as possible 
  • Use a lumbar roll
  • Stop and get out of the car every hour if traveling
  • Don't sit on your wallet


What Do Sharp Pains In The Lower Back Mean?

The quick answer is that sharp pains in the lower back mean that you probably have inflammation or an injury. Sharp pain is typically a symptom with there is a new issue that is very irritated. This can happen after a traumatic injury.

Sharp pain in the lower back may also happen due to muscle spasms. When there is irritation in a structure in the lower back, it is common to have muscle spasms around the area. The body triggers the muscle spasm as a protective response.  But, spasms hurt!


Causes of Pains in the Lower Back

There are lots of causes of pain in the low back. Some of those include:

Lower back issues can also cause Sciatica.  Sciatica may include pain in the legs, buttocks, hips and lower back.


How Do You Treat Low Back Pain?

McKenzie exercises can help some people with sharp pains in the lower back.Image of a prone extension exercise 

The quick answer is to identify what is causing the pain and stop doing it!  Lots of times, it comes from sitting. 

Rest and anti-inflammatory medications are typically used at first.  

If you have an episode of low back pain, McKenzie Exercises may help.  McKenzie Exercises often involve using repeated movements to extend the lower spine backward.  Don't do these if they increase your symptoms or cause pain or other symptoms in the leg.  

You should go to the doctor and/or physical therapy if:

  • Pain persists for more than a few days
  • Pain travels past the knee
  • Decreased sensation or strength in the leg
  • Can't stand up
  • Pain wakes you at night
  • loss of bowel and bladder control (this is a medical emergency, go straight to the Emergency Dept.)

To learn more about Robotic Spine Surgery, please read this ARTICLE.


To schedule an appointment for physical therapy at one of the 12 JOI Rehab Centers, please call 904-858-7045.

If you are struggling with Lower Back Pain, The Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute can help!  To schedule an appointment with a JOI Spine Specialist, call  904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below.


Ehren Allen is a physical therapist and medical content writer for the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute.Image of Ehren Allen, DPT, COMT


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