You're simply going about your daily business when you happen to bend forward to pick up a small potted plant, the laundry basket or your toolbox. All of a sudden lower back pain hits you as if someone is stabbing you in your back. You grab your back in agony and almost immediately you feels jabs of excruciating pain with just the slightest movement. You're even afraid to breath because just taking a breath is painful.
You wonder, "What just happened?"
That potted plant wasn't that heavy. The laundry basket was only half full. Or, you have lifted that tool box hundreds of times without any problem before.
So why the sudden severe back pain? Why does it hurt with just the slightest movement? What is wrong?
A few of the more common reasons are:
..More than likely your back was an accident waiting to happen. You may have postural or structural imbalances due to over-pronation, a short leg or pelvic tilt. Over time these imbalances created muscle and joint reactions that would have predisposed you to injury.
..You could have injured your lower back months or, more likely, years ago and it is finally catching up to you. The degeneration of the disc or joints takes time to develop and it has finally reached its threshold.
.. Perhaps you slightly pulled a lower back muscle 12 to 24 hours prior to lifting the object and the extra added muscular stress was enough to cause more insult to that injury.
.. You were harboring latent trigger points and the sudden stress to the involved muscle caused the trigger point(s) to now become active and pain expressive.
In all of these examples the true cause was not lifting the object. No... the real cause was the structural imbalances, prior injury with its eventual degeneration, the injury that you sustained 12-24 hours earlier, or the trigger point(s) you have.
Obviously, if you lift something greater than the muscles are conditioned to handle, especially if there is twisting motion at the same time, there will certainly be a lower back injury sustained in the form of a strain or muscle tear.
Most sudden lower back pain will heal by itself in 7-14 days. If it, like all pain, persists or becomes worse, or you do not notice a gradual improvement, then you should see your chiropractor to find out why.