Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Lower Back Pain


Lower Back Pain is a very common complaint in the general population, and studies estimate that 65% to 80% of us will experience lower back pain at some point in our lives!

Symptoms of lower back pain
Treating Lower back pain symptoms

Firstly, here are some general rules of thumb with regard to lower back pain symptoms.

  • If it occurs for a known reason and disappears within 72 hours don’t worry too much.
  • If it persists longer than 72 hours and occurs for no apparent reason, or rates higher than 4/10 on a pain scale, then seek medical advice, preferably from a Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist who specialises in lower back pain.

The symptoms of lower back pain can range from pain in the lower back alone - to pain with or without pins and needles and numbness in the legs.

So the possible symptoms are many and varied - all need to be considered carefully before examining the underlying cause of the pain, and deciding on the appropriate treatment.

A common symptom of low back pain that I see are lower right back pain with pain radiating down the right leg. I also see lower left side back pain and central lower back pain, but less frequently.

Pain in the lower back can arise from many structures in your body - structures such as your discs, nerves, joints, ligaments and muscles - which can become strained, torn or impinged. Let’s now look at the typical symptoms in turn:

  • The symptom of pain in your lower back is due to a dysfunction of one of your discs, joints, ligaments or muscles - which results in an inflammatory response causing pain. Put simply, inflammation causes pain!

  • The symptom of pins and needles is due to a nerve in your lower back being trapped, impinged or damaged. Where the nerve is trapped will dictate where your pins and needles are.

  • The symptom of numbness, is also due to a nerve being trapped, impinged or diseased in some way.

Movement (standing up, sitting down, walking, reaching etc.) is the most common aggravating factor of mechanical lower back pain symptoms.

If you experience lower back pain at night - and it is not eased by positioning your body in a certain way then you should seek immediate medical attention to eliminate any sinister cause of your lower back pain symptoms.



While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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