Sudden onset of back pain

Eur Spine J. 1995;4(3):145-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00298238.


Patients attending a back pain clinic completed a structured interview, with particular reference to whether onset of the first episode of back pain was sudden or insidious. They were classified into four diagnostic groups. A significantly higher proportion of patients who had experienced a sudden onset of pain suffered from sciatic pain with positive root tension signs than was the case with patients whose pain had started more insidiously (50.8% vs. 20.6%; P < 0.001). These patients were also more likely to be male, to have been lifting or twisting with a weight, and to have been confined to bed or hospitalised, and have undergone manipulations, than patients with insidious onset of their pain.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis
  • Low Back Pain / etiology*
  • Low Back Pain / therapy
  • Male
  • Occupations
  • Sex Factors