What Are The Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain is a common occurrence in the general population and is something that can become chronic if it remains untreated. But what are some symptoms besides just pain in your back? 



stretching in the morning


Common symptoms 


Pain in or around your lower back 

It can be any sort of pain (dull, achy, sharp, burning, stinging). This pain can be caused by one of these or a combination of all: muscle spasm around your lumbar spine, restricted mobility, discomfort or pain in the pelvis and hips.


Pain in the buttocks, thighs and calves 

Lower back pain can sometimes refer into your buttock or down your leg into your calf and foot. This can present as a sharp/stinging pain, tingling/burning sensation or numbness. This is usually due to your sciatica nerve getting irritated. 


Pain with prolonged sitting or standing 

Sitting in a bad posture for sitting in general puts a lot of pressure on the disc in your lower back (axial compression). The same can be said for standing in bad postures, due to the pressure it puts on the disc in your lower back. 


Pain that is worse in the morning

This can due to stiffness from sustained postures, poor sleeping posture, quality of your mattress or pillow, or inflammation. This can also be caused by a poor night’s sleep and or stress. 


Symptoms you should never ignore!

  • Back pain + Loss of bladder and bowel control 
  • Back pain + unexpected weight loss 
  • Back pain + unrelenting pain in the abdomen


Be sure to read more about when back pain is serious.


If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, have unrelenting pain, or if you cannot figure out what is affecting your sleep quality, give us a call at 8599 9811 or book in here and let us help you sort it out! 


By Physiotherapist, Vanessa Boon

When Is Lower Back Pain Serious?

BOSIC about us


One question we get asked a lot in our clinic is “when is lower back pain serious?” or when should we “worry about back pain?” The good news is that a sinister cause for back pain is exceedingly rare. For most people, lower back pain can be attributed to factors in daily life. By completing a thorough history and examination, our team at Barangaroo Physio can ascertain if the cause is a mechanical (movement) problem for example sitting too long, or because of a limp, or a structural problem for example the joints / discs which may become aggravated when lifting something heavy, or following a fall.

Sadly, but reassuringly, low back pain is common, and statistics tell us that up to 80% adults will experience some form of it in our lives.



So when shouldn’t we be worried about lower back pain?

If back pain can be associated with a particular activity or movement, the pain changes during times of the day and settles within 48-72 hours then it’s likely something less serious. That doesn’t mean to say that it’s not incredibly painful and debilitating. However, as Physiotherapists, it’s important that for any injury we screen for more concerning symptoms.



When do we need to ask more questions?

Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, specifically to low back pain we ask a lot about the following:

  • Mechanism of Injury -We can tell a lot about your pain from the information you tell us. If you have back pain as a result of a trauma e.g. fall from a height, car accident – there maybe an indication to send you for further investigations.
  • Night Pain – Constant pain that doesn’t ease or is worse at night. We will always ask if your pain wakes you up.
  • Referred Pain – When pain / numbness or any other sensation is felt down the front or back of the leg, it tells us the nerve might be irritated as a result of the pain.
  • Weight Loss – We are less concerned by gradual planned weight loss and more inquisitive if there was been a recent, unexplained weight loss.
  • Bladder / Bowel Symptoms – Back pain paired with the inability to pass urine, or control bowel movements is often a more concerning symptom and one where we would seek a specialist review and further investigations.
  • Past medical history – Your medical history can tell us a lot of important information about your overall wellbeing, particularly if you have a history of back pain. But also, if any other illnesses / medications may increase your risk of back trouble
  • High Temperature or Feeling Generally Unwell – If there is a fever present at the same time your pain started – this could be a sign of an infection.


What if you’re not sure about your lower back pain?

There is a wide ranging list of conditions that can bring about more severe back pain so if you are ever concerned about any pain or problem, please seek medical advice from a registered healthcare professional. Whether that’s your GP, Physiotherapist, Sports Doctor or Specialist – an individual assessment is always appropriate, even for peace of mind. If any of your practitioners are concerned they will seek investigations as appropriate.

If you feel as though you need to see a physiotherapist to have your pain treated, then be sure to book in HERE


By Principal Physiotherapist, Sam Davison