Common Symptoms Of A Pulled Back Muscle
Symptoms to expect from a pulled lower back muscleor any type of lower back straintypically include:
- Dull, achy low back pain. Strained muscles usually feel sore, tight, or achy. Pain that feels hot, tingling, or electric is more likely caused by an irritated nerve root, not a pulled muscle.
- Intensified pain with movement. Low back strain typically worsens with specific movements that activate the affected muscles. For example, there may be a flare-up of pain when getting up from a seated position, when bending forward, or when first getting out of bed in the morning.
- Pain that is localized in the low back. Pain is usually concentrated in the lower back. It may also be felt in the buttocks and/or hips, as these muscles help support the low back. Rarely does pain travel down the legs and into the calves and feet, as in cases of sciatica.
How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.
Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:
How To Treat Low Back Pain
Thereâs a lot you can do to feel better while your body heals. To get relief:
Apply heat and cold to your lower back. Heating pads or cold packs can ease pain. Start with cold for about 48 hours, then switch to heat. Donât put a heating pad or cold pack right on your skin or leave it on for more than 20 minutes.
Use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. They can make you feel better, but donât use them for more than 10 days without talking with your doctor.
Move gently. You may need to take it easy for the first day or two after you notice pain. But donât stay inactive for too long. Avoiding movement for a long time can actually make low back pain worse. It can make you more stiff and make your muscles weaker. Gentle movement helps blood flow to your back. It also builds strength, which can lower your odds of more back problems.
Ask your doctor about physical therapy, especially if your back pain is severe or you arenât sure how to move or exercise safely.
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What Is Arthritis Pain
When your pain comes from a body joint like the knees, ankles or fingers, it is called arthritis pain. There are many types of arthritis , but the most common type is known as arthrosis. This is a degenerative disease of the joints that results in the cartilage wearing down. It normally develops as we grow older, and causes a pain that returns often.
If you suffer from arthrosis, you may find:
- that this pain appears following a period of inactivity
- a tenderness when you touch the joint
- joint stiffness
- discomfort during fluctuations in temperature.
Other types of arthritis, as with rheumatoid polyarthritis, also cause inflammation in addition to pain.
How To Heal A Lumbar Pinched Nerve
There are a few possible causes for a pinched nerve .
But no matter the cause, there are 2 simple steps you have to take to NATURALLY cure your pinched nerve.
Do not fool yourself to think that it will go away or heal on its own and please do not start relying on dangerous pain medication to keep your sanity.
So, what did you find? A pinched nerve or a pulled muscle?
To your health and happiness,
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When Should I See A Doctor For Back Pain
When your back first starts to hurt, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and applying ice in the first 48 hours. You may apply heat after 48 hours. You may need to take it easy for a while, but its best to stay as active as tolerated, and to avoid absolute bed rest, said Dr. Guo.
If your back pain lasts more than two weeks and keeps you from participating in normal, daily activities, see your family doctor. If your pain is severe, you should see a doctor sooner. You should seek urgent medical care if you have:
- Fever associated with back pain
- Back pain after trauma
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of strength in your arms and legs
- Unexplained weight loss associated with back pain
Also, always be more cautious if you have special risk factors for cancer, infection, or fractures that may affect the spine.
The Universal Guide To Upper Back Pain: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts
In This Article:What Is the Upper Back? | Symptoms | Causes | Risk Factors | Diagnosis | Nonoperative Treatments | Surgery Options | Recovery |
Upper back pain can be a little like salsa or Buffalo wingswe know, bear with us.
- First, theres mild: Just a twinge of the tastebuds if were talking sauce, and slight pain thats easy to ignore when it comes to the upper back.
- Then theres medium/moderate: Now were getting somewhere. Youre gonna feel it, but usually only if you take a deep breath or sneeze or move too quickly.
- Finally, weve got spicy: the equivalent to pain so intense you feel the burn from doing the simplest daily tasks, or even nothing at all!
Upper back pain is usually caused by soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains, muscle tension caused by poor posture, or looking downward for long time periods. Photo Source:123RF.com. Thing is, upper back pain affects everyone differently. Partly thats because there are so many possible reasons for your upper back pain. The first step in solving your upper back pain problem is understanding why its happening. To do that, start with learning your anatomy.
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Pain Is Still Real Even If No Anatomical Reason Is Found
Even after many tests and doctor visits, in a small percentage of patients the anatomical cause for your back pain may remain elusive. If this is the case, the pain still needs to be treated and there are a variety of nonsurgical care options that can help alleviate or manage the pain.
Psychological factors, such as depression and sleeplessness, can make the pain worse and also need to be included as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
See Chronic Pain and Insomnia: Breaking the Cycle
For persistent back pain and/or any neurological symptoms, it is always important to see a qualified spine specialist for a diagnosis. Ultimately, participating in the decision-making process about your medical care may help you have a better outcome. Understanding your pain is an important element of this process.
Find Out How To Spot Red Flags That Can Indicate A Serious Condition
In many cases, back pain can be as commonplace as a mild headache, a sneeze here and there, or eye strain. In fact, non-specific low back pain is a frequent ailment. One study reports that the lifetime prevalence of chronic low back pain is as high as 84%, making ones chances of experiencing discomfort at one time or another pretty high.
Here’s how to tell if your back pain may be something serious
Then there are those other times, when the back pain just doesnt feel right and your gut is saying that something more is going on. Many people have been known to go to the emergency room when experiencing low back painin 2012, a study found that low back pain accounted for 3.15% of all emergency visits in the United States. When you consider how many conditions can land someone in the ER, that number is fairly substantial.
Lets say that youre experiencing a significant amount of back pain, wondering, How do I know if my back pain is serious? This guide will help you decide if it warrants a trip to your doctor or the emergency room.
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What Causes Lumbar Strain
Injury can damage the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury. Certain risk factors, such as excessive lower back curvature, forward-tilted pelvis, weak back, or abdominal muscles, and tight hamstrings, can increase the risk for this injury.
How Can I Prevent Low Back Strain
Here are some tips to help you avoid low back strain:
- If you feel any low back pain during physical activity, stop.
- If you feel low back pain within a day of stepping up your workout, take it easy for a few days.
- Get your back in shape. Exercise and stretch your back muscles regularly.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleep on your back or your side, and wedge a pillow under or beneath your legs.
- When picking up something heavy, bend at the knees, not at the waist.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Adopt good posture. Sit straight in chairs, with your back against the chair’s back.
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When Should I See A Doctor About Back Pain
About 80% of adults experience back pain at some time in their lives. It’s one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss work. The pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, sudden and debilitating pain.
For most people, back pain is mechanical in nature, which means the elements of your back and how they move together has changed.
Possible back conditions could include:
Muscle or ligament strain
Heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain the muscles or ligaments in your back. Also, if you are overweight or in poor physical condition, the constant strain on your back can cause muscle fatigue and muscle spasms.
Bulging or ruptured disk
Disks are the cushions between the bones in your spine. You can have bulging or ruptured disks that may or may not cause pain by compressing a nerve root and causing pain that radiates into the leg.
Disks may narrow over time and cause your vertebrae to grind together resulting pain.
Most back pain even severe back pain goes away on its own in four to six weeks with self-care, such as rest, heat or ice, over-the-counter pain medication and exercise.
Surgery often is effective to correct a spinal deformity or instability issue. Surgery also is helpful to treat pain radiating down a leg due to compression of a nerve root in the spine if other conservative treatments have failed. However, surgery is not considered a good treatment for generalized back pain.
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How To Treat A Pulled Muscle
Prevention should always be the primary goal:
- Maintain strong abdominal and back core muscles to help stabilize your spine and prevent strain on back muscles.
- Live a healthy lifestyle, including weight management and low-impact aerobic exercises, to build muscle strength and prevent strain.
- Maintain a neutral posture when sitting or standing.
- Utilize leg muscles instead of back muscles when lifting objects to prevent back muscle fatigue and injury.
Muscular back pain usually goes away after several weeks of home care, says Dr. Van Dien. Despite the popular belief that you must rest, early mobilization and walking following an acute back strain will help keep muscles loose and prevent further lower back tightness. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and alternating ice and heat can be helpful with the initial onset of pain. Your doctor may also recommend a course of physical therapy.
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Is It A Pinched Nerve Or Pulled Muscle In The Lower Back
A pulled muscle occurs when you tear or overstretch some of the muscle fibers. This can happen if you overwork the muscle or twist it too hard. You will probably notice pain and swelling, and the area will be tender to the touch. You may even notice redness or bruising.
A pinched nerve, or nerve compression, happens when pressure in an area causes the nerve impulses to become partially blocked. You may experience a radiating, burning pain in the affected area.
While a pulled muscle in your lower back could potentially cause a pinched nerve, this can also be caused by a herniated disc in your spine. If you feel radiant pain that extends into your legs, see a doctor right away.
What Are Common Upper Back Pain Treatments
The range of treatments for upper back pain and neck and mid-back pain, too suggest there is no best option. These are some examples of different approaches that may help you.
In most cases, upper back pain is not a cause for worry however, it can be uncomfortable, painful, and inconvenient. Furthermore, if pain develops suddenly and is severesuch as from an injury and, certainly if pain and symptoms progressively worsen you should seek medical attention.
Simple home remedies. In general, the following home treatments may help relieve upper back pain. Ignore the hype about special products marketed on TV or social media. Stick with what science says works, at least for most people with minor musculoskeletal strain:
- Gentle stretches
- Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen
- Ice to reduce pain and swelling
- Heat to improve mobility and ease stiffness
Posture exercises. If your posture is good, your spinal structures should be correctly aligned, which reduces back strain. Start with these strategies to improve the way you stand or sit.
Injections. A trigger point injection is a direct shot of powerful pain medicine. It may solve your problem, or it may just buy you enough pain-free time to pursue other interventions to get your upper back pain in check.
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Keep Low Back Pain From Becoming A Long
For many people, their back pain keeps coming back. But thereâs a lot you can do to lower your odds of it returning. And if it does, these tips can make it less severe:
Donât slouch. Your spine should be neutral when youâre sitting or standing. A neutral spine is in a straight line from your head to tailbone without being exaggerated. Over-curving your lower back can make it hurt.
Exercise regularly. It can make your back, abdomen, and hamstrings stronger. That helps keep your back pain-free. Aim for a mix of cardio exercise like walking or biking, strengthening exercises , and stretching.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight strains your lower back. It can also add to joint problems that can cause pain there.
Be careful when picking up heavy objects. Always lift from your knees, not your lower back. Your stomach muscles should be pulled in and your head should be in line with your back, rather than pushed forward or arched backward.
Chronic Back Pain: Long
Chronic back pain, on the other hand, can be serious. Chronic pain is serious because the symptoms are strong enough to impact your health, mobility and quality of life for an extended period of time.
While chronic back pain can come on suddenly, it usually builds gradually and lasts more than six weeks. Chronic back pain can also be recurrent, meaning itll go away at times but regularly come back.
What causes chronic back pain? Chronic pain can be triggered by a new injury, but underlying conditions are usually the real cause. Muscle deconditioning is one of the most common contributors.
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What Can Cause Lower Back Pain
Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
- Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.
- Sprains , strains , and spasms
- Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
- Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
- Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
Nerve and spinal cord problems