If you have lower back pain and can barely walk because of it, there is likely something serious going on.
Not only are you in agony, but you cannot move. This means you are stuck laying down or seated all day, and can’t get done any of the things you need to.
In this instance, you should really see a doctor and get professional care as soon as possible. But in the meantime, we will share some of the potential causes, and help you identify which one you are suffering from. We’ll explain the potential treatment options for each condition, and at the end, we’ll describe some of the best ways you can manage or even alleviate the pain from home.
Potential Causes Of Lower Back Pain So Bad You Can Barely Walk
There are some common causes when you have bad lower back pain and can barely walk. These included strained or spastic muscles, degenerative disk disease, and spinal stenosis.
Strained Or Spastic Muscles
Most often, strained or spazzing muscles can cause you lower back pain so bad you can barely walk.
A strained muscle is typically the result of improper movement on your part – such as jerking or twisting of the spine. This can cause all kinds of impingements in the lower back. And when you consider how many nerves there are in the lower back, it’s no surprise that this can prevent you from walking comfortably.
Similarly, muscle spasms in your lower back can impede your ability to move, on top of being incredibly unformattable and painful. These are usually the result of some sort of injury to a muscle, tendon, ligament, or nerve in your lower back. But, they can also be related to more serious issues, such as arthritis or a ruptured or bulging disc.
Degenerative Disk Disease
Another likely cause of lower back pain so bad you can barely walk is degenerative disk disease.
An unfortunate reality of aging is that the spine deteriorates; it isn’t meant to last forever. This process, where the spine starts to break down, is known as generative disk disease.
The disks in your back are responsible for acting as shock absorbers, protecting our individual vertebrae from one another.
When these disks degenerate, it leads to them bursting, or vertebrae on vertebrae contact. Both of these cause severe lower back pain, and can prevent you from walking or taking on any normal daily tasks.
This is another condition where the spine starts to alter, and can cause serious pain and prevent you from moving pain-free. It involves the narrowing of your spinal canal, which leads to the crushing of the spinal cord and pressure placed on nerves.
On top of the pain this causes, which can be debilitating on its own, it also causes weakness and numbness in your legs. This makes walking even more difficult.
The final potential cause of debilitating lower back pain we want to highlight is sciatica. This is a condition that affects the sciatic nerve, which is extremely long. It starts in our back and runs all the way into our feet.
The condition itself is typically caused by a herniated disk or bone spur on the spine. But, the way in which it presents itself is incredibly painful, and can leave you unable to walk in some cases.
It causes the same weakness and numbness as spinal stenosis, but the main difference is that the pain from sciatica radiates along the sciatic nerve – meaning you can feel it radiate as far as your feet.
Treatment For Severe Lower Back Pain That Prevents You From Walking
First and foremost, make sure you don’t have any other symptoms suggesting a more serious issue.
If you have additional, accompanying symptoms that could be associated with a heart attack, blood clot, cancer, etc, you should be seen by a professional as soon as possible.
But, if you’re relatively sure it isn’t something that warrants an ER visit, here are some things you can do from the comfort of your own home to remedy lower back pain so bad you can barely walk.
In some instances, you will need to seek out a professional care option to come up with a plan for your condition.
RICE – Rest, Ice, Compressional, & Elevation
A good way to get started treating your back pain is with the RICE acronym.
Start by giving your back and the rest of your body some rest. If the pain has progressed this far, you likely have really aggravated something. If you can’t walk, don’t force it. Rest for some time, and start icing your lower back. We recommend doing intervals of 20 minutes with ice on the pain site, once an hour.
This will help with some of the inflammation. Then, you can start compressing the area – which may include using some sort of elastic bandage or wrap around your lower back.
While the RICE acronym also calls for elevating the injury, this doesn’t necessarily work for back injuries, as you can’t really elevate your back safely/comfortable.
The goal of the RICE formula is to ultimately relax the painful, inflamed area. In most cases, this treatment only works for soft tissue related pain. It does a wonderful job of releasing muscles in spasm.
Mobilize & Strengthen Your Body
Once the pain starts to subside, you can prevent future flare ups with some stretching and exercise.
Typically, back issues are more likely in those with weak, immobile bodies. So it makes sense to strength and mobilize problem area, such as the spinal stabilizers and erectors, glutes, hamstrings, ankles, etc.
Do some research, and come up with 1-2 exercises and stretches that you can do daily to help you recover from your injury and get back to doing the things you enjoy.
Seek Out Professional Treatment Options If Necessary
In some cases, such as with sciatica, degenerative disk disease, etc, you may need to seek out some form of professional care.
These include physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage. These professionals all specialize in some form of strengthening, recovery, or both. Do some research into which option, or options, make the most sense for you if you have lingering pain that affects your day to day life.
Final Thoughts On Experiencing Lower Back Pain So Bad You Can Barely Walk
In summary, seeing a doctor or heading to the ER is not a bad idea if you are in excruciating lower back pain, can barely walk, and have additional symptoms of a more serious underlying issue.
However, if you think you are just experiencing a sciatica flare-up, or some other less life-threatening cause, there are some things you can do.
Along with these, it doesn’t hurt to visit a physical therapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist to further improve your back and spine health, especially when your ability to walk is on the line!
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