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Acute Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most disabling condition. Up to 80% of adults will have experienced it at some time of thier life. Most people with low back pain have self-limited episodes that resolves on its own. Many do not require medical care. However, there are ways to manage your acute low back pain episode to reduce the risk of it turning into a persistent debilitating condition.

Types of low back pain and their Signs and Symptoms


Non-specific Low Back Pain (90%)

  1. Axial low back pain

  • Localised low back pain

  • Usually sharp or dull pain

  • Limited movements

  • Worsens with an activity of static position​​​​

Low back pain

    2. Low back pain with referred pain

  • Low back pain with pain in groin, buttocks or upper thigh or leg

  • Usually dull ache

low back pain with referred pain

Lumbar radiculopathy

  • Pain due to compressed nerve roots (sciatica)

  • Tingling, numbness, weakness of the legs may be present

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Causes of Acute Low Back Pain


  • Physical factors

    • Lifting awkwardly

    • Prolonged poor posture

  • Psychosocial factors

    • Being fatigue or tired

    • Stress

    • Combination of physical and psychosocial factors

Management of Acute Low Back Pain


  • Simple Analgesics - short term usage

    • Consider taking Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen/Aspirin, muscle relaxants if the pain is severe

  • Lumbar support/brace - short term usage

    • Consider a lumbar support/brace if severe pain on movements is present

  • Relaxation exercises and Breathing

    • Reduces trunk muscle guarding

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1. Lie down with your knee bent, with one hand on your chest and the other hand on your tummy. 

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2. Breathe in through your nose, feel your tummy rising up into your hand. The chest should remain fairly still. Hold the breath for 5 seconds. 

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3. Breathe out through your mouth, as if you are blowing out a candle.

  • Gentle mobility exercises and stretches for the back and hips

    • Reduces trunk muscle guarding

    • Normalize movements


Knee to Chest Stretch

Lying on your back, bring one knee to your chest, until you feel a comfortable stretch in your lower back/buttocks. Hold for 15-20s seconds.

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Lumbar Rolls

Lying on your back, bend both knees and roll the knees to the side until you feel a comfortable stretch. Roll the knees to the other side and repeat 10 times. 

  • Avoid prolonged static positions

    • Alternate between standing, walking, sitting every 3mins within pain tolerance

  • Aerobic exercises (swimming, walking, cycling etc)

    • Aim for 20-30mins of aerobic activities if it does not exacerbate the pain.

Seek Medical Attention if you have these Symptoms

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Sudden leg weakness

  • Chronic back pain with fever and chills

  • Severe pain waking you up from sleep


Choose which option works best for you..

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