“Severe Lower back Pain with a locking sensation” - Lumbago

Lumbago is a term used to describe sudden severe lower back pain with a locking sensation that a person experiences on rapid movements. Coughing, stooping forward, lifting objects and sudden turning movements all can bring about sudden severe Lower back pain.

Lumbago or acute sudden Low back pain can stem from a number of causes including:

  • Early stage prolapse of the spinal disc

  • Incorrect locking of the vertebrae joints away from its normal position of the Lumbar spine causing locking.

  • Entrapment of the meniscoid padding within the Facet Joints.

  • Tear to the spinal ligaments

In relation to a young adult, impingement of the synovial meniscoid within the vertebral facet joint can commonly be the cause of acute sudden lower back pain. This injury involves the meniscoid padding with the facet joints of the vertebrae becoming impinged and pressurized due to misaligned locking of the vertebrae spine. The synovial meniscoid impingement illicits a sudden painful response with loss of movement. In older and middle aged adults simple incorrect locking of the facet joints of the vertebrae spine due to a twisting or bending movement such as tying a shoe lace can lock the spine in a forward or sideways position with sever lower back pain.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Sudden severe pain in the lower back caused by stooping forward to pick up an object from the floor, b) a sudden twisting or turning movement, (c) Lifting a heavy object, (d) coughing.

  • Symptoms often don’t arise until a few hours after the initial trigger movement

  • Difficulty moving due to pain

  • Lower back feels ‘Stuck’ or ‘Locked’

  • Pain gradually reduces with rest

  • Some people can experience tingling pain or numbness down the leg and into the buttock (Sciatica)

Treatment & Management

When people enter my clinic complaining of severe lower back pain and difficulty with walking and standing, the initial treatment would involve gentle manual traction mobilisation to the lower spine followed by ice treatment to reduced the inflamed muscle spasm in their lower spine. Advice on resting positions while at home is vitally important also. Subsequent treatment would include increased grades traction followed by more specific mobilization work on the misaligned facet joint. With thorough treatment, Lumbago usually subsides within 3 weeks. A homecare exercise programme then needs to be instigated to prevent future occurrence of Lumbago.

Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles.

Contact Number: 0504 26672

Email your queries to: tomaspryan@gmail.com

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Physiotherapy & Injury Rehabilitation Clinic in Tipperary

0504 26672


The Surgery, Fianna Road, Thurles


Riverside Medical Centre, 7 Upper

Irishtown, Clonmel

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Insurers : You can receive rebates on your Physical Therapy visits.Tax relief is available on all Physical Therapy costs, Tax relief may be claimed by filling in the MED 1 form available from www.revenue.ie.

Receipts are provided after each treatment for tax or health insurance companies.