How Are Back Sprains And Strains Diagnosed
Mild strains and sprains can usually be diagnosed based on a medical historyincluding a review of the symptoms and how the injury occurredand a physical examination by a healthcare provider. In cases of more severe strains and sprains, especially when there is weakness or loss of function, an X-ray may be taken to rule out a fractured or herniated disc as the cause of the back pain.
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.
The Enigma Of Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. It’s also a little strange as far as ailments go.
When you twist your ankle, you generally have pain that slowly goes away as the injury heals. Not so with back pain. Relief doesn’t seem to be linked to healing because the pain is usually unrelated to an injury. In fact, back pain often diminishes over time, even when there is an underlying problem like a herniated disc or arthritis, says Dr. James Rainville, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
Adding to the mysteries of back pain is the fact that people tend to report more back pain in their 40s and 50s than they do as they get older. But back degeneration generally increases over time, so logically, people should have more pain not less as they age.
In addition, as many as 80% of adults report at least one episode of back pain. The other 20% never experience back pain at all. But it’s not because their spines are normal. Imaging tests on these pain-free folks show as much degeneration in their lower spine as everyone else has, says Dr. Rainville. The question is, why don’t these changes seen on imaging cause them pain?
You May Like: Will Aleve Help Back Pain
How To Treat Back Pain At Home
Keeping your back happy
Back pain can interrupt your day or interfere with your plans. In fact, theres an 84 percent chance that you will develop low back pain in your lifetime. But back pain isnt always something you can ignore or wait for it to resolve on its own. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat back pain at home. These remedies include everything from herbs to massages. Keep reading to see how you can ease your back pain.
What causes lower back pain? »
Try oils and ointments to ease pain
ishonestNo.163 – Uneven Skin Tone
There are plenty of pain rubs and ointments to help ease pain by blocking the sensation. For example, creams with capsaicin can desensitize the pain channels in the affected area. Other ingredients you can look for in topical creams include:
- Brazilian arnica
Research suggests that topical medications may be just as effective as oral ones. Many of them worked significantly better than placebo. These medications can come in the form of gels, creams, patches, and more. One study also saw decrease in pain when people applied lavender essential oil or ointments prepared with cayenne peppers with acupressure.
Some other brand standards include Icy Hot or Tiger Balm. The effectiveness and side effects of each brand can vary from user to user. You may experience skin irritation with certain brands. Be sure to patch test before doing a complete application.
Massage can help sore or tense muscle
What to eat to ease back pain
Injections For Lower Back Pain
Injections are also administered in treatment of lower back pain. Types of lower back pain injections include the following:
- Botox Injection â This type of injection is shot directly into the back muscle to alleviate lower back pain and treat the condition.
- Amticon Vulsants â This is also prescribed for treating lower back pain.
- Anesthetic or Steroid Injections â This type of injection is prescribed for lower back pain to provide short time relief.
Also Check: Will Naproxen Help Back Pain
Left Side Low Back Pain
Many people experience muscle pain on only one side of their back. This can be due to compensating for a sore joint, like a hip or knee. For example, if one of your hip joints is weak, you may be putting strain on the opposite side of your lower back to make up for that.
However, lower back pain on your left side may also be due to:
If you do pull a lower back muscle, there are several things you can help relieve the swelling and pain.
The Universal Guide To Lower Back Pain: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts
In This Article: | | | | | | | | | |
If youve ever had lower back pain stop you from doing what you want, youre not alone. Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world. It is a leading reason why people visit a doctor, affecting more than 80% of adults at some point in their lives. According to the Global Burden of Diseasea significant study published in the Lancet medical journallower back pain is also a leading cause of disability.
While severe lower back pain can cause worry, pain severity is not always an indication something is seriously wrong. Photo Source: Shutterstock.
You may not be able to prevent lower back pain, especially as you age and your back loses some strength and resilience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can get relief, no matter the cause of your back pain.
Read Also: Aleve Or Ibuprofen For Back Pain
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest and pain relievers. Back pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of a more serious condition.
See your provider if you have:
- Pain that doesnt get better after about a week of at-home care.
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in your buttocks or legs.
- Severe pain or muscle spasms that interfere with your normal activities.
- Fever, weight loss, bowel or bladder problems or other unexplained symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people live with low back pain. Stiffness, pain and limited movement can have a major impact on quality of life. But you may be able to avoid lower back pain by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Talk to your provider if back pain doesnt go away or if youre unable to do the activities you enjoy. Several treatments can relieve pain, help you move better and get more out of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
How Long Does Lower Back Pain Usually Last
Lower back pain can be categorized as acute, subacute or chronic. Acute episodes of lower back pain usually last from a few days to 4 weeks and subacute lower back pain lasts between 4 to 12 weeks. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, about 20 percent of people with acute back pain go on to develop chronic back paindefined as pain that lasts 12 weeks or longer. Even in these cases, there are many different treatment options to help relieve lower back pain symptoms.
When your back is really killing you, you might worry something is seriously wrong. The same goes for back pain that seems unending. The good news is that while back pain is a major inconvenience, it is rarely an urgent medical issue. In fact, most of the time you dont have to treat it. Back pain usually resolves on its own unless you have a major underlying issue.
Don’t Miss: Back Pain Cleveland Clinic
Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain
You cant prevent lower back pain that results from disease or structural problems in the spine. But you can avoid injuries that cause back pain.
To reduce your risk of a back injury, you should:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts pressure on vertebrae and disks.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Pilates and other exercise programs strengthen core muscles that support the spine.
- Lift the right way: To avoid injuries, lift with your legs . Hold heavy items close to your body. Try not to twist your torso while youre lifting.
Understanding Your Back Pain
Accidents leading to injury or trauma can happen to anyone. Understanding how your pain may have started can help set you on a path toward getting back on your feet again.
There are many different ways you can injure your back, from strains that heal quickly to permanent injuries that lead to severe chronic pain.
You May Like: Aleve And Back Pain
What Are The Most Common Lower Back Surgery Procedures
Spine surgery is not necessary for most people who have lower back pain. If you do need it, your doctor will recommend an appropriate procedure to address your specific symptoms and medical situation. Common spine surgeries include:
Spinal Fusion. Two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together to limit excess spinal motion. Your surgeon will use a combination of bone, bonelike material, screws, plates and rods to hold the vertebrae together so they can heal into a single unit. Spinal fusion may be done to correct spinal deformities or to increase the spines stability in severe cases of spinal osteoarthritis or herniated discs.
Laminectomy and laminotomy. Laminectomy is a surgery in which your surgeon removes the back portion of one or more vertebrae to create more space for the spinal cord or other nerves. In people with severe arthritis, bone spurs within the spinal canal can grow large enough to press on the spinal cord, causing pain and limiting mobility. In a similar surgery known as laminotomy, your surgeon will remove a small piece of bone called the lamina from the back of the vertebra.
What If My Pain Continues Long After The Injury Or Trauma
Some injuries or trauma, such as falling down the stairs or slipping, can sometimes lead to pain that persists for several monthschronic pain. When conservative therapies like medication and physical therapy don’t help to relieve the pain, there are other treatment options to consider, such as back surgery and chronic pain therapies. Talk to your doctor if your pain doesnt seem to go away.
Read Also: Advil Or Aleve For Back Pain
How To Prevent And Heal From Deadlift Lower Back Injury
When it comes to a lower back injury, deadlift movements tend to rank fairly high on the list of common Crossfit injuries and weightlifting injuries. When performed with poor form, the conventional deadlift can quickly place too much stress on the lumbar spine, resulting in varying degrees of pain.
Unlike the squat, the deadlift involves a hip hinge movement. This is where a neutral spine and activation of the lats muscles is key to avoid rounding of the back, which often leads to injury. In this article, were going to explore all of this in further detail, including the types of injuries caused by the deadlift, how to heal, prevention, and alternatives to deadlifts.
Bonus Tip: Soothe The Pain With Cold And/or Hot
Don’t underestimate the pain reduction of simply applying cold packs and/or hot packs to help reduce your lower back pain.
- Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain. Some examples include wrapping ice in a cloth, a pack of frozen peas from the freezer, or a cold gel pack. Always keep at least one layer between your skin and the ice/cold pack.
- Heat therapy helps improve blood flow, relaxation, and pain relief. Heat therapy can come in many forms. It’s best to try several to find what works best for you. Taking a warm bath or shower, soaking in a hot tub, or using a heating pad or heat wrap are all ways to bring warmth to your lower back.
Whether applying ice or a heat pack, limit applications to 15 or 20 minutes with at least 2 hours of rest in between to protect your skin. Never sleep with a heating pad or frozen pack as this can lead to permanent skin damage.
Hopefully these overlooked remedies can help you try some new approaches to better manage your lower back pain and find lasting relief.
Read Also: Aleve Or Advil For Lower Back Pain
Pulled Back Muscle Treatment
Learn about muscle anatomy and the symptoms of lower back strain. WatchLower Back Strain Video
Aggressive chiropractic manipulation should be avoided at the onset of treatment. It is best to restore health in a very gradual and dedicated process, watching for worsening symptoms versus improvement.
Ultimately, the severity of a muscle injury will determine what kind of treatment is necessary.
When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency
Most episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own, but there are times when you should seek urgent medical attention. Some of these situations include:
- Patient is a child
- Pain is severe, constant, suddenly or progressively worsens, and/or doesnt go away
- Pain interrupts sleep
While some situations may warrant immediate intervention, most cases are not urgent and can be scheduled at a time convenient for the patient.
Also Check: Is Aleve Good For Lower Back Pain
What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
Sleep On A Quality Mattress
Lower back pain sufferers usually benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. However, your preferred sleep position also should influence your mattress selection. To maintain good posture, side sleepers should select a softer mattress. Back and stomach sleepers should choose a firmer mattress. If you have lower back pain, its a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether.
If your lower back pain doesnt improve after 4 to 6 weeks of home care using these suggestions, you should see your doctor. You also should contact your doctor right away if you have any red flags, including:
- A history of cancer or a recent infection
- A recent fall or other accident
- Extreme fatigue
- Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, sweats
- Nerve problems, such as shooting pain, numbness or tingling
- Changes in bowel or bladder function
Other options for treating lower back pain may include physical therapy, pain management with cortisone injections or, in certain cases, surgery. Although lower back surgery can be beneficial for patients who are experiencing nerve problems and injured discs, its not typically recommended for patients with other types of lower back pain.
Download the Virtua Health Guide to Back Pain, or call to request a consultation with a Virtua back pain specialist.
Also Check: Is Aleve Or Ibuprofen Better For Back Pain
Lower Back Pain After Squats Causes And Prevention
This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and it has been approved for publication
Squatting is one of those exercises that some people obsess over and others dread. It is a common exercise that can be done in many forms. From full squats to half-squats, squatting can be done during dynamic workouts or as a resting exercise. There are several benefits from practicing this exercise, and it does a lot for your mind and body. If youve ever experienced sore back during or even days after workout, then this article is the right one for you.
Around the globe, athletes in all sports are known to squat, and they do so every single day. Over time and throughout many seasons, these players have proven that regular squat training improves muscular endurance and overall athleticism. The actual process of their workouts is a tremendous benefit to their bodies.
Squatting builds explosive power for the fastest athletes and the worlds strongest men. Squatting will build strength so that you can jump higher, run faster, play harder, and have more endurance. This goes beyond professional sport to every time you need to jump up onto a chair or reach for something out of your grasp. Squatting increases functional strength for everyday use. Benefits include: