Sharp Back Pain

Sharp back pain can occur on account of varied reasons in both young and old. Read on for the causes and remedies to cure this.
Almost each one of us has experienced a back pain at some point in our life. Most of the time, it is caused due to over straining the back muscles, but if the pain is severe, it could signal a serious complication. Here are some of the possible causes of sharp back pain, followed by the treatment options.


Pinched Nerve
A sharp pain in the lower back could be caused due to a pinched nerve. Pinched nerve, also known as sciatica, causes pain which is restricted to the lower back only and it is almost always felt on one side only.

Appendicitis, a medical condition in which there is inflammation in the appendix as it fills with pus, causes pain around the navel, in the lower abdomen as well as pain in the back. Pain arising from this condition usually takes about twelve to eighteen hours to develop, after which it becomes very severe.

Heart Attack
A sharp pain, which is felt in the upper area of the back, can signal a heart attack. When a person experiences a heart attack, it is his heart muscles that cause pain. But this same pain can be felt as if coming from the upper back, i.e., from the middle of the shoulder blades. Sharp back pain while breathing, could also be a symptom of a cardiovascular disease.

Muscle Strain
Sharp pain can also occur if the back muscles become overtly strained, due to an injury caused by repetitive strain, such as studying or working on a computer in the same position for long hours or picking up heavy things, etc. In fact, back pain during pregnancy occurs due to muscle strain too. This happens especially around the fourth month of pregnancy, when the uterus has become heavy. Due to the change in weight of the uterus, the pregnant woman too adjusts her posture accordingly, many a time unknowingly, causing a muscle strain and back pain.

Back pain can be caused due to a medical condition known as osteomyelitis, in which an infection occurs in the vertebrae. A person in this condition also suffers from mild to severe fever.

If injury or trauma is caused to the spine bones, due to some accident or a fall, it can cause a fracture in the spine bones, resulting in back pain. In elder people, who suffer from osteoporosis, fracture can also occur due to very weak bones. This condition produces sharp back pain in elderly too.


Unlike a dull pain, a sharp pain in the back can be a symptom of something serious. So, without fail a doctor should be consulted. Doctors will conduct various tests such as CAT scans, X-rays, blood works and MRI's, to diagnose the exact cause of the pain, and then suggest treatment accordingly. Meanwhile, over the counter pain relievers can be taken, especially if the pain has become unbearable. It is recommended that the person suffering from this takes adequate rest, for relief. Alternately applying ice packs and heating pads, to the back, helps in relieving the pain too.

In order to avoid back pain caused due to a muscle strain, strengthening exercises should be done everyday. Yoga, massages and acupressure can also be included to get rid of chronic back pain. While working for long hours, it is very essential to stretch the back and take small breaks in between to avoid causing any kind of pressure or strain to the back. Losing weight will help in lessening the strain on the back so effort should be made to remain fit, by eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
By Aastha Dogra
Last Updated: 9/29/2011
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