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How To Heal A Pulled Muscle In Lower Back

Effective Treatments For Pulled Strained Or Torn Back Muscle

Pulled Muscle In Low Back? 3 DIY Treatments

Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer Health

Most people will suffer from back pain caused by a pulled, strained, or torn muscle in their back. Your back contains muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support your upper body, give you strength for performing tasks and help move your neck, shoulders, and arms. Pulling, straining, or tearing a muscle can cause shooting severe pain if you suffer an acute injury. Or, back muscle strain caused by overuse can cause deep aches and chronic pain that can affect your daily activities.

Treating muscle pain in your back usually requires getting plenty of rest to prevent irritating the inflamed tissue even more. Also, hot and cold treatment can be effective in speeding up the recovery time by helping to reduce swelling and inflammation. Pulled back muscle treatments also include essential oils that are effective to treat pulled, torn, or strained back muscles as well as Epsom salt bath.

In this article, you will learn about the best and most effective treatments for strained lower back muscles, pulled or torn upper and middle back muscles, and how to treat back pain in general.

First, its important to know something about the muscles in your back.

How Can Back Sprains And Strains Be Prevented

It is not possible to prevent all back injuries, but you can take some steps to help lower the risk of a sprain or strain:

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep your bones and muscles strong.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts added stress on the structures of the lower back.
  • Exercise regularly, including stretching, to keep your joints flexible and your muscles in good condition.
  • Practice safety measures to help prevent falls, such as wearing shoes that fit properly, and keeping stairs and walkways free of clutter.
  • Use good body mechanics when sitting, standing and lifting. For example, try to keep your back straight and your shoulders back. When sitting, keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Dont over-reach, and avoid twisting movements. When lifting, bend your knees and use your strong leg muscles to help balance the load.
  • Stop smoking. Nicotine interferes with blood flow to the muscles.

How Can I Manage My Symptoms

  • Rest as directed. You may need to rest in bed for a period of time after your injury. Do not lift heavy objects.
  • Apply ice on your back for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Apply heat on your lower back for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.
  • Slowly start to increase your activity as the pain decreases, or as directed.

Also Check: How Can You Relieve Lower Back Pain

Pulled Muscles Can Be Classified As Either:

Strains â A tendon or a muscle that is stretched or torn.

  • Strains are typically caused by an overload and stretching of the muscle and tendon that results in a partial or complete tear.

Sprains â A ligament that is torn or stretched.

  • Ligaments connect bone to bone at a joint, so this is considered a more serious injury and takes longer to recover from.

No matter which one you have, the treatment is the same for both.

Pulled Muscles In Seniors

Treatment For A Pulled Lower Back Muscle

If you are like many people, some of your New Years resolutions revolved around getting more physical activity into your senior care routine with your loved ones.

While getting more active is a fantastic way to help your parents lose weight, increase flexibility and range of motion, support better mobility and balance, and improve their quality of life, getting too enthusiastic and really going for it right off the bat can put too much pressure on your loved ones bodies, possibly resulting in a pulled muscle.

Also Check: How To Reduce Back Pain

Exercises For Pulled Back Muscles

If you have pulled or torn a back muscle, its important to regularly exercise your back muscles to strengthen them and prevent further injury. If the muscle or tendon injury caused a lot of tissue damage in your back, you will have to wait until swelling and pain have gone before starting gentle exercises.

How to strengthen your upper back:

Here is one exercise to strengthen your rhomboids or trapezius muscles.

  • Sit with your back straight, shoulders back, and chin slightly tucked in.
  • Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together as far as possible to tighten your trapezius and rhomboids.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat 10 times to help keep your upper back muscles flexed and supple.
  • How to strengthen your lower back:

    Here is a great, easy exercise you can do at home to strengthen your lower back and prevent recurring episodes of back pain.

  • Go on your hands and knees with your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift one leg and extend it behind you and at the same time extend your opposite arm so it is in front of you.
  • Keep your hips level and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Do with the other leg and arm.
  • Repeat 10-12 times for each leg and arm.
  • This will help to improve your balance and tone your lower back muscles to prevent low back pain.

    When Should I Contact My Healthcare Provider About A Back Strain Or Sprain

    • You have severe pain and cannot walk more than a few steps.
    • You have numbness in the area of injury or down your leg.
    • You have injured your lower back several times before.
    • You have a lump or area with an unusual shape.
    • You have pain that interferes with sleep.
    • You have obvious weakness in an extremity after an injury.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/09/2018.


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    Apply Ice For The First Few Days After A Strain

  • 1Itll help reduce swelling. If youve just strained your back, start with cold. Use an ice pack or place a towel over the strained area to protect your skin. Place the ice pack on top of the towel and leave it in place for 15-20 minutes.XTrustworthy SourceJohns Hopkins MedicineOfficial resource database of the world-leading Johns Hopkins HospitalGo to source
  • Controlling the initial swelling can help with the pain.
  • Ice your back up to 3 times a day: in the morning, in the late afternoon, and about 30 minutes before bedtime.XResearch source
  • How Is Low Back Strain Diagnosed

    Exercise for a Pulled Back Muscle

    An x-ray, CT scan, or MRI may be done to check for damage to your spine, muscles, or tendons. You may be given contrast liquid to help the tissues in your lower back show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

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    The Course Of Lower Back Muscle Strain

    The hip, pelvis, buttock, and hamstring muscles assist low back muscles in supporting the lumbar spine. When these muscles are injured, pain or tightness may be felt across the low back and into the hips or buttocks.

    Symptoms are typically limited in duration and follow a pattern:

    • Pain is most intense for the initial few hours and days. It is normal to experience increased pain with certain movements or positions, such as bending forward, backward, or standing upright.
    • Ongoing moderate pain and stiffness is usually felt for 1 to 2 weeks while muscles heal. Pain when holding certain movements or positions , stiffness, and local tenderness are typical.

    See Lower Back Pain Symptoms

    Compared to many other kinds of back injuries, a pulled muscle is usually straightforward to diagnose and easy to treat, and symptoms usually resolve within 4 to 6 weeks. Some severe muscle injuries, such as a complete muscle tear, can take months to heal.

    How Is Low Back Strain Treated

    • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor’s order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
    • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor’s order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
    • Muscle relaxers help decrease pain and muscle spasms.
    • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
    • Surgery may be needed if your strain is severe.

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    Avoid Laying Down For Long Periods Of Time

  • 1Some physical activity can help you heal. While it is important that you take it easy, lying down for too long can actually slow down your healing time and can make your symptoms last longer. Try to get up and walk around for at least a few minutes every hour or so. Feel free to do activities that dont cause you too much pain. Stay as active as you can to help speed up your recovery time.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • Try getting up at least once every hour. You could also take short walks every now and then to keep from lying down for too long.
  • Epsom Salt Bath To Relieve Strained Muscle In The Back

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    One way to relax tense muscles and also relax your mind to ease muscle tension is to take a warm bath of Epsom salt.

    Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that an Epsom salt bath can help to heal a pulled or strained muscle and ease many aches and pains. It is thought that magnesium and sulfate from the salts penetrate the skin and help relax stiff muscles.19

    How to use Epsom salt for muscle repair:

    To make a healing bath with Epsom salt to get rid of pain caused by pulled back muscle, this is what you should do:

  • Fill your bathtub with very warm water and add 1 to 2 cups Epsom salts.
  • Soak in the bath water for 20 minutes to allow the salts and minerals ease muscle tension in your back.
  • Rinse off in the shower and dry yourself.
  • Take the bath up to three times per week until your sore back muscles are healed and are no longer sore.
  • Read Also: Is Swimming Good For Back Pain

    Symptoms Of A Pulled Back Muscle

    Symptoms of a pulled back muscle depend on where the injury is. The spine is divided into three major sections: the neck, upper back and shoulders, and lower back.

    For a pulled muscle in the neck, you might experience:3

    • Pain in the neck and upper back area
    • Limited range of motion in the neck
    • Stiffness in the neck
    • Pain radiating to the shoulders or arms
    • Headache

    Pulled muscles in the shoulders and upper back may cause:

    • Pain in the area between the spine and shoulder blade
    • Muscle spasms in the upper back
    • Knots and tightness in the upper back and shoulders
    • Pain when moving the shoulders

    In lower back strain injuries, many people experience symptoms such as:3

    • Aching and stiffness in lower back muscles
    • Pain that worsens with movement
    • Pain that radiates to the hips and legs
    • Limited range of motion
    • Muscle spasms in lower back area
    • Pain when sitting, standing, or walking

    How Can You Treat A Pulled Muscle In The Lower Back

    April 13, 2020 by Dr. Clemens

    Medical News Today

    Pulled muscles, or strains, are common in the lower back because this area supports the weight of the upper body.

    Anyone can get a lower back or lumbar strain, which can be very painful and make normal movement difficult.

    In this article, we discuss the symptoms and causes of a pulled muscle in the lower back and explain what treatment options are available.


    Symptoms of a pulled lower back include:

    • loss of function and restricted movement
    • difficulty walking, bending, or standing straight
    • swelling and bruising
    • sudden pain in the lower back

    Overstretching or tearing ligaments, which are bands of tissue that hold the vertebrae of the spine in place, can cause a sprain. A strain is a tear in either a muscle itself or one of the tendons that attach the muscles to the spinal column.

    Strains happen when a person stretches the muscles or muscle fibers beyond their normal range of movement.

    Causes may include:

    • sports that require pushing and pulling, such as football or soccer

    Other risk factors include:

    • bending the lower back excessively
    • a weak back or abdominal muscles
    • poor posture
    • tight hamstrings


    Anyone who strains a muscle in the lower back should rest to avoid further damage. However, they should not stop moving altogether. Gentle movements that cause no pain can help expedite the healing process.

    According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, after a person pulls their lower back, they should:

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    How To Treat A Bruised Back Muscle

    If youre suffering from the pain of a bruised back muscle, stretching might be the last thing on your mind. But stretching bruised muscles increases blood flow to the area, which can increase healing time. Stretching will also help you avoid the muscle pain and tension that often happens when a bruised back sidelines your normal exercise routine.

    Whats The Difference Between A Strain And A Sprain

    How to treat a pulled muscle in lower back | B Episode 43

    A strain happens when you injure either a muscle or a tendon. Your tendons are tough, fibrous tissues that connect your muscle to your bone.

    When you are experiencing back strain, it means that you have twisted, pulled or torn the muscles or tendons that support your spine. If you stretch a muscle too much, you actually cause small tears in the muscle fibers.

    A sprain, on the other hand, occurs when you stretch a ligament too far or tear it. Ligaments are the fibrous tissues that connect your bones at your joints.

    Sprains and strains may not sound like serious injuries, but the back pain they cause can really hurt!

    In fact, the pain can be so excruciating that some people are convinced theyve done something terrible to their back and that theyll need surgery.

    The good news is you definitely wont need surgery. Pulled muscles in the back usually heal within days or weeks on their own.

    Please note, if you have severe, constant pain that keeps you from sleeping, experience a loss of bladder or bowel control or have progressive lower extremity weakness, you may have a more serious injury to your lumbar spine and should be evaluated by a professional.

    Although its possible to have a pulled muscle anywhere in your back, these strains and sprains most often occur in the lumbar region, or your lower back. One of the most common symptoms of a pulled back muscle islower left side back pain.

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    Diagnosing Back Pain From A Pulled Muscle

    Back pain from a pulled or strained muscle can usually be diagnosed based on a patients symptoms. X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans likely wont be recommended unless theres another suspected cause of your pain, or if you are not responding to initial treatments. Symptoms commonly associated with a pulled muscle include:

    • Dull or achy lower back pain
    • Difficulty walking, sitting, or standing
    • Pain primarily relegated to the lower back area

    Discomfort sometimes extends to the buttocks, thighs, or hips if the pulled muscle is in this area. For instance, a pulled or strained piriformis muscle, which starts in the lower spine and extends deep within the buttocks, may produce this type of discomfort. Pain that includes tingling sensations, warmth, or numbness suggests nerve pain, not muscle pain.

    Most back pain caused by a pulled muscle responds well to home remedies. Start with ice to reduce inflammation, then do periodic heat applications to increase circulation and stimulate tissue healing. Avoid prolonged bed rest beyond 24-48 hours since this may weaken spine-supporting muscles and make pain worse. If you dont notice improvement within a few weeks, see your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon. If the affected muscle is torn, it may take several months to fully heal.

    Causes Of Pulled Torn Or Strained Muscle In Back

    Unfortunately, all of us at some point in our lives will suffer from some degree of upper back pain, middle back pain, or lower back pain. In fact, according to a report published in 2014, lower back pain is the number one cause of lost days at work. The report described back pain as a major health condition that affects about 10% of people and is a leading cause of disability worldwide.4

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    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.

    How Do I Know If Ive Strained My Back

    Treatment For A Pulled Lower Back Muscle

    It’s no surprise that the anatomy of your back is very complex in of itself since you rely on it for many different things. But to understand what causes a strained back, let’s focus on three components: tendons, muscles, and ligaments. In order for you to move, run, and twist, you need all three of these components to work properly. Since they are constantly working to hold your body upright, they are very prone to injuries such as tearing, pulling, and over-stretching.

    Its important to understand that muscles get strained and ligaments get sprained! These are both considered soft tissue injuries, and people often use them interchangeably, but they are actually different

    A sprain occurs when a ligament stretches or tears.

    A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon stretches or tears.

    Already confused? Read more to see a breakdown of the anatomy of your ligaments, tendons, & muscles in your back.

    The most common symptoms of a torn, strained, or pulled muscle include:

    • Sore or tenderness in your lower back
    • Pain that occurs suddenly
    • Pain that increases when you stand, walk, or twist
    • Stiffness in the back region
    • Pain that radiates to your legs, buttock, or thigh areas
    • Weakness in your muscles and tendons

    Luckily for you, treating a back strain can be as simple as 1, 2, 3. Try doing these stretches, exercises, & prevention methods to help say goodbye to that annoying pain in your back!

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