More Advanced Care Options
Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:
Implanted nerve stimulators
- Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
- Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.
Symptoms Of Lower Back Muscle Strain
A lower back muscle strain usually causes some combination of the following symptoms:1
- Localized or diffused lower back pain
- Tightness and/or stiffness in the affected muscle
- Swelling in the affected area
- Redness of the skin over the lower back, caused by bleeding within the muscle tissue
- Difficulty in performing bending and/or twisting movements
While grade I and II injuries may only cause localized pain and may allow you to continue with your normal activities, a grade III sprain typically causes excruciating pain with significant disability.1
The pain more commonly starts as a delayed onset muscle soreness but may appear suddenly in cases of severe injury. Lumbar muscle strains may be accompanied by painful muscle spasms as your body works to stabilize your 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.
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Lower Back And Ovaries Hurt
Pulled Muscle In Lower Back Exercises
There are several exercises you can perform to help your lower back heal. Not only will they help the muscle spasms you may be having, they make your back stronger so its not as likely to become injured again.
Here are a few easy stretching exercises. Take them slowly and move gradually into each position. If any of these make your back pain worse, stop and see a doctor.
Yoga For Relieving Back Spasms
Yoga therapy is also known as Yoga Asanas. Below mentioned are some of the yoga poses and pranayama for treating back spasms-
Tadasana – Such pose stretches the muscles. Even the tiny muscles are stretched by doing this asana. Palm Tree Yoga pose relaxes the body and it creates a healing effect on the nerves.
- Parsavkonasana – It stretches the heart, hip, and the waist muscles.
- Makrasana – It stretches the muscles of the legs and back muscles. It helps to get rid of physical and mental body fatigue.
- Yastikaana – This yoga asana can be effective in stretching and soothing the tiny body muscles and can also be useful in relieving back spasms.
- Matsyasana- This yoga pose is good in the treatment of back and neck muscular spasm
- Adho Mukha Savasana – It relieves the lower back muscle spasms and also provides spinal support. It is good to heal muscular cramps.
- Balasana – An effective yoga posture that relaxes the body. It is good in the treatment of muscular spasms.
- Bhujangasana – The cobra pose gives gentle stretching to the back, leg muscles.
- Wall Plank- It soothes and stretches the muscles surrounding the spine, leg, and hands.
- Shavasana – This yoga pose is effective in the treatment of strain, stress cramps, depression, back spasm.
- Saithalyasana – Good for spines that are stiff.
- Anulom Vilom Pranayama- It is beneficial in relaxing the muscles.
- Deep Breathing- It helps to ease out muscles and provides relief from back spasms.
Don’t Miss: How To Ease Lower Back Pain Fast
How Tria Neck And Back Strengthening Program Helps You Heal Your Back Pain
What many people dont realize about chronic back pain is that it can often be solved without surgery. Yes, sometimes surgery is the suggestion but only after non-surgical options have stopped working.
At TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program our spine strengthening program focuses on active physical therapy which focuses on movement-based activities. This is a proven method for healing chronic back pain just ask any of the 200,000-plus patients weve worked with over the past 30 years.
Through this program, youll do an intake with a doctor or physical therapist who specializes in spine care and chronic pain. Theyll work with you to determine the best pain management treatment plan. Then youll work one-on-one with a physical therapist.
Most programs are six to 12 weeks long, and your therapy happens at one of our facilities that features state-of-the-art medical exercise equipment. As part of your care, youll learn about what chronic pain is and how the brain processes it.
Youll also focus on body mechanics such as proper lifting, standing and sleeping all the things that can contribute to back pain but you probably dont think about. And as you progress, youll learn how to continually improve and maintain your back strength on you own so you can keep back pain at bay long-term.
Want to learn more about TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program? Watch this short video.
What Can I Do To Help With The Pain
Try not to do things that make the pain worse, like sitting for a long time, lifting heavy objects, or bending or twisting.
Stick to your normal activities as much as you can. Gentle exercise like walking helps you get better more quickly.
Some over-the-counter medicines can help pain or swelling. These include ibuprofen , naproxen , and acetaminophen . Your doctor may give you medicine to help with pain or muscle spasms.
Try using heating pads or taking a warm bath or shower.
Your doctor can show you some gentle exercises to help stretch your back and make the muscles stronger.
A physical therapist, massage therapist, or chiropractor may help with your pain and make you feel better.
You May Like: What’s The Best Sleep Number For Lower Back Pain
When To See A Spine Specialist For Chronic Back Pain
Sometimes back pain comes on quick, and you know exactly what caused it. After some stretching, resting and pain relievers, you’ll remember to bend with your knees next time.
But, other times, people experiencing back pain are often left thinking: I don’t even remember when the pain started or what I did to cause it. The reality is that the source of you back pain may not always be evident which can also make it hard to know when it’s time to see an expert.
Dr. Hwang says the following five signs likely indicate that it’s time to see a spine specialist for your back pain:
1. Your pain is severe. While some back pain is only mild to moderate, severe back pain is when your pain is constant, intense or gets worse when you’re resting or at night.
2. Your pain is persistent. If your back pain lasts longer than three months, it’s considered chronic and may require a tailored treatment plan.
3. Your pain isn’t isolated to your back. If your pain is traveling down your leg, you have numbness or weakness in your hips or legs, or you’re experiencing tingling in your legs and feet, it may be a sign that there’s pressure on your spine.
4. Everyday activities have become difficult. If your back pain is already affecting routine activities, don’t let it get so debilitating that it keeps you from doing things you enjoy.
- Find a Houston Methodist spine specialist that can treat your back pain at a location convenient for you
Understanding The Lower Back
The lower back is also called the lumbosacral area of the back. It is the part of the back between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.
Most of the lower back is made up from muscles that attach to, and surround, the spine. The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are roughly circular and between each vertebra is a disc. The discs between the vertebrae are a combination of a strong fibrous outer layer and a softer, gel-like centre. The discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to be flexible.
Recommended Reading: What’s The Best Bed For Lower Back Pain
Massage For Lower Back Pain
Massage has been proven as one of the effective means for alleviating lower back pain. Massage can provide effective pain relief and healing of low back pain caused by strains and tensions of the back muscles. There are two major types of massage used in treatment or reduction of lower back pain. They are:
Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Massage to Relieve Lower Back Pain
This type of massage for lower back pain helps a lot in reduction and elimination of adhesions and contractures habouring in the QL muscles. This state can be caused by repetitive strainious injuries, bending frequently, other traumatic injuries that cause damage to muscles and structures found in the iliolumbar part or the lower back through accident or slip and fall and healing state after traumatic muscle strains.
Gluteus Medius Massage
Request your physiotherapist to give more time in performing these two types of massage. You will experienced a great relief from back pains if performed well.
What’s The Treatment For Low Back Strain
Low back strain can be a painful and depressing injury. But the good news is that most cases heal on their own, given time. To speed the healing, you should:
- Ice your back to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you injure yourself. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. You can also ice your back after physical activity.
- Apply heat to your back — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your back only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle. Or you could just soak in a hot bath.
- Take painkillers or other drugs, if recommended by your doctor. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with lower back pain and swelling. However, these drugs may have side effects. They should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise. Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants are sometimes necessary.
- Use support. Ask your doctor or therapist first, but consider getting a belt or girdle to add support to your back. Use it only short-term or for support with heavy or repetitive lifting.
- Get physical therapy to build up strength, if your doctor recommends it. Do not stay in bed or on the couch all day. That will make it worse.
- Maintain good muscle tone in your abdominal and lower back muscles.
Read Also: What Is Best For Lower Back Pain Relief
Common Treatments For Back Injuries
Most back pain comes from minor injuries. If you have a minor back injury, it could heal in as little as one to four weeks. A doctor might prescribe treatments like:
- Avoiding activities that worsen pain or require heavy lifting
- Rest combined with regular activities that dont worsen pain
- Physical therapy or physiotherapy
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications
- Surgery, in some cases
Severe back injuries can take much longer to heal. Some never completely heal and require long-term assistance. The details will depend on how your injury happened, the type of back injury, and your overall health.
Some back pain can also show up later on. For example, you might not notice a back injury right after an accident. It could take time to realize that you are experiencing more pain or discomfort.
If your back injury happens after an accident, call your doctor immediately. Its also best to speak with a personal injury lawyer who can let you know your rights. You might deserve financial compensation for a back injury caused by an accident.
How Long Do Back Spasms Last
Back muscle spasm caused by muscle fatigue lasts for 2 to 5 days. Rest, adequate fluid intake and treatment of pain helps to recover from muscle fatigue in 3 to 5 days and pain subsides in intensity from mild to none. Back spasm caused by muscle weaknesses remain for 2 to 4 weeks or longer. Muscle weakness caused by dehydration and mineral deficiency gets better when condition improves that may take 1 to 2 weeks. Back muscle weakness caused by long term chronic disease may take 8 to 12 weeks to recover after once the chronic disease is completely recovered.
Back muscle spasm caused by over use of back muscle gets better after 2 to 5 days of rest. The muscle overuse by manual worker or an individual lifting heavy weight may cause muscle tear. Muscle spasm associated with muscle tear often takes 6 to 8 weeks to heal. During healing period back muscle undergoes on and often in spasm.
You May Like: Why Does My Back Pain Get Worse At Night
Can Further Bouts Of Back Pain Be Prevented
Evidence suggests that the best way to prevent bouts of low back pain is simply to keep active and to exercise regularly. This means general fitness exercise such as walking, running, swimming, etc. There is no firm evidence to say that any particular back strengthening exercises are more useful to prevent back pain than simply keeping fit and active. It is also sensible to be back-aware. For example, do not lift objects when you are in an awkward twisting posture.
How Do You Treat Back Strain
Back pain will not get better by lying down. Inactivity can actually make the pain worse. It reduces muscle tone and flexibility and might increase the risk of a blood clot.
Over-the-counter hot or cold packs can help with pain, as can some anti-inflammatory medicines. Movement has been proven to normalize pain response with your nerves. Staying active is the best remedy. Your doctor may recommend certain exercises, but ultimately sprained back healing time is lessened if proper treatment is implemented early.
Recommended Reading: When To Go To Hospital For Back Pain
How Is Back Strain Diagnosed
Unless pain has persisted for more than six weeks, diagnostic testing may not be needed. But if pain has persisted that long, it is important to rule out other things like a herniated disk. The following tests may be ordered by a doctor:
X-ray: Your doctor will look at the structure of your backbones and joints.
MRI: This 3D image is more specific than an x-ray. It can show the spinal cord, roots of the nerve, and soft tissue problems like enlargements or tumors.
Your doctor will also conduct a history and physical to see what exactly caused your strain.
Improper Posture Or Body Mechanics
Bad habits can stress your spine and strain the soft tissue surrounding it. And over time, this repeated stress can break down the structural components of the spine.
While posture or body mechanics are part of every movement you make , your work environment can have a big impact.
If your job requires regular lifting or repetitive movement, proper mechanics are your best defense against chronic back pain.
For office workers, when you sit at your desk for long stretches without stretching, it can cause your hip flexors to tighten. Over time, this can cause hips and hamstrings to weaken, leading to lower back pain.
If you notice yourself hunching over your keyboard several times per day, you may be developing kyphosis. This excessive curving of the spine is often associated with chronic back pain.
You May Like: Can A Enlarged Prostate Cause Lower Back Pain
What Structures Make Up The Back
The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.
Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.
When Should I See My Doctor
Apart from the signs of a serious back injury, you should see your doctor if:
- your problems have not improved at all within a few days
- your problems have not improved completely within 6 weeks
Your doctor may be able to help you manage any pain and may refer you for physiotherapy or other investigations.
Don’t Miss: What Causes Sudden Severe Lower Back Pain