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Learn about your sharp lower back pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your sharp lower back pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Sharp Lower Back Pain Checker

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Your Sharp Lower Back Pain May Also be Known as:
Stabbing lower back pain

Top 10 Sharp Lower Back Pain Causes

  1. 1.Unexplained Acute Low Back Pain

    A precise anatomical cause for low back pain is rarely identified. Often, the specific cause of the pain is unknown and is likely due to strain on the bones and muscles of the back from heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, or bad posture.

    Back pain often resolves within a few weeks. You can safely manage the pain at home with over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetominophen (Tylenol).

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, back pain
    Symptoms that always occur with unexplained acute low back pain:
    lower back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with unexplained acute low back pain:
    buttocks numbness, thigh numbness, involuntary defecation, fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Low Back Strain

    A strain, commonly called a "pulled muscle," is when a muscle becomes overstretched and tears. A low back strain happens when one of the muscles in the lower back is stressed due to an unusual movement (such as lifting a heavy object, or lifting while twisting).

    You can safely treat this condition on your own. Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help. Muscle relaxants or a massage could be useful in treating the pain symptoms as well. You can also try applying ice packs to reduce inflammation, or gentle heat to help stimulate blood flow and healing to the injured area.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that gets worse when sitting, back pain that gets worse when straightening it, lower left back pain, lower right back pain
    Symptoms that always occur with low back strain:
    lower back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with low back strain:
    involuntary defecation, first time leaking urine, back numbness, toe numbness, foot numbness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Iliolumbar Syndrome

    Iliolumbar Syndrome is caused by a tear of the iliolumbar ligament, which connects the hip to the spine. It's caused by overuse or acute trauma to the area.

    You should visit your primary care physician, who can confirm the diagnosis through asking questions. Treatment involves rest to allow healing, followed by physical therapy to strengthen the area after.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, severe back pain, back pain that shoots to the groin
    Symptoms that always occur with iliolumbar syndrome:
    lower back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Traumatic Vertebral Fracture

    Vertebral fracture is a fracture or dislocation of a vertebra that can cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Most spinal fractures occur from car accidents, falls, gunshot, or sports.

    Call 911 immediately.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    back pain, constant back pain, severe back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain affecting the spine
    Symptoms that always occur with traumatic vertebral fracture:
    back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with traumatic vertebral fracture:
    mild back pain
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  5. 5.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Lower Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    For treatment of a slipped disk, you should consult with your primary care physician (PCP). Your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination to localize the slipped disk and rule out dangerous complications. Most people do not require surgery for a slipped disk. Treatment involves pain relief with an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol), using heat treatments, and keeping active. It is best to avoid sitting still for long periods. Walking or swimming may help as well.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Sharp Lower Back Pain Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having sharp lower back pain.

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  6. 6.Lower Back Arthritis

    Osteoarthritis, most often simply called arthritis, is a disease of cartilage. In joints, where bones touch and move against one another, cartilage helps provide lubrication for smooth movement, and acts as a shock absorber. Cartilage is also present in between vertebrae, which are the bones comprising the spine. Osteoarthritis of the spine, also known as degenerative joint disease, happens when the cartilage between vertebrae dries out and shrinks. The vertebrae are thus not as able to move smoothly against one another. The ability to walk and perform normal daily activities can be impaired due to inflammation and pain in the lower back.

    You schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP), who will coordinate your care with a specialist, a physical therapist, or both. Degenerative joint disease in the spine is commonly treated with general analgesics (pain killers) such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), or stronger narcotic pain killers such hydrocodone (Vicodin) or oxycodone (Percocet) in more serious cases. Corticosteroid injections into the joints are also commonly performed, and are a very effective treatment for pain.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, spontaneous back pain, back pain that gets worse when straightening it, back pain from overuse, lower back injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Kidney Stone

    A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the kidney from substances in the urine. Most kidney stones pass out of the body without help from a doctor. But sometimes a stone will not go away. It may get stuck in the urinary tract, block the flow of urine and cause great pain.

    Kidney stones can be painful, so go to the nearest urgent care center or emergency room. The course of treatment depends on the size of the stone. Small stones can pass out of the body without any treatment, which can take two days to four weeks. You can help this process by drinking plenty of water to increase the flow of urine. Strong painkillers can also help with the pain. If a stone is stuck in a tube (ureter), your doctor might recommend a medication called an alpha-blocker, which can help make the tube bigger and thus help the stone to pass.Larger stones might not pass on their own, and thus surgery or shock wave therapy might be used. Shock wave therapy uses shock waves to break up stones into small pieces that can pass out of the body.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, abdominal pain that comes and goes, diarrhea, pelvis pain, vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with kidney stone:
    hidden: abdomen or flank pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  8. 8.Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

    Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female genital structures like the uterus, fallopian tube, ovary, and the surrounding abdominal wall. It is typically caused by N. Gonorrhoeae or C. Trachomatis.

    You should contact your doctor today. There, physical exams and swabs of the vagina will be needed to look for infection. Further blood testing or imaging may also be needed. Treatment involves antibiotics (orally) for both you and your partner

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, lower abdominal pain
    Symptoms that always occur with pelvic inflammatory disease:
    hidden: pid: pain fever or discharge
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  9. 9.Chronic Low Back Pain of No Specific Origin

    A precise anatomical cause for low back pain can only be identified in 20 percent of cases. The rest of the time, the specific cause of the pain is unknown, and is likely due to strain on the bones and muscles of the back from heavy lifting, prolong sitting, or bad posture. Chronic low back pain is characteristic of back pain lasting longer than 12 weeks.

    For most people, back pain goes away within a few weeks. Because your back pain is lasting longer, you should make an appointment with a physician. You might find it harder to recover and might need additional treatment such as a program of back exercises. If the pain is not too severe, you can safely manage the pain at home with over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetominophen (Tylenol). It is also recommended to stay active and carry on with the things you usually do as much as possible, to help you recover faster. Sitting or lying still for long periods can actually make the pain worse. Your joints may become stiff which will make it harder and more painful to move your back.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, fever, back pain that shoots to the butt, involuntary defecation
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin:
    lower back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin:
    thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain, tenderness, and fatigue.

    Fibromyalgia is treated symptomatically. Medication, therapy, and stress reduction may reduce symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, trouble sleeping, depressed mood, headache
    Symptoms that always occur with fibromyalgia:
    hidden: arthralgias or myalgias
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Sharp Lower Back Pain

  • Q.How long has your back pain been going on?
  • Q.How severe is your back pain?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.What is your body mass?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our sharp lower back pain symptom checker.

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Sharp Lower Back Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced sharp lower back pain have also experienced:

    • 4% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 4% Lower Back Pain
    • 4% Nausea
  • People who have experienced sharp lower back pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 33% Less Than a Week
    • 26% Less Than a Day
    • 20% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced sharp lower back pain were most often matched with:

    • 31% Unexplained Acute Low Back Pain
    • 23% Low Back Strain
    • 23% Iliolumbar Syndrome

Sharp Lower Back Pain Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having sharp lower back pain.

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