Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
Ask About Prescription Medications
If your back pain hasnt resolved itself within four to six weeks, make an appointment with your doctor, who will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. Youll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and they may do imaging tests, like an X-ray or MRI. Then, he or she may recommend one of the following prescribed therapies:
- Muscle relaxants: Medications like cyclobenzaprine or baclofen can help relieve painful back spasms. If you go this route, just know that side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.
- Topical pain medications: These creams and ointments, like Voltaren gel, are meant to be rubbed directly on to the area thats hurting you.
- Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory. There are risks, including thinning of nearby bone, and relief typically lasts just a few months, tops.
When Will My Lower Back Strain Feel Better
Recovery time depends on how serious your low back strain is. Mild cases may resolve in a couple of days. It can take many weeks for more serious strains. Remember that everyone heals at a different rate.
Once the back pain is gone, your doctor will probably want you to start a regular exercise routine. This will get your back muscles stronger and more limber. It will help you recover, and reduce your odds of low back strain in the future. Your doctor will probably want you to take up low impact sports, like swimming or using a stationary bike.
Whatever you do, don’t rush things. Don’t try to return to your previous level of physical activity until:
- You can move as easily — without stiffness — as you did before your injury.
- You feel no pain when you bend, twist, walk, run, and jump.
If you start pushing yourself before your low back strain is healed, you could end up with chronic back pain and permanent injury.
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Try To Boost Your Mood
No, the lower back pain isnt in your head, but obsessing over it could be making it worse. Fear, anxiety, and catastrophizing can amplify pain, says Dr. Mackey. Because brain circuits that process pain overlap dramatically with circuits involved with emotions, panic can translate into actual pain. Start by accepting that you have pain, Dr. Mackey says. Then say to yourself, it will get better. If you struggle with overall mental wellbeingsay, you have anxiety or depressionin addition to your physical aches, it could be worth seeing a therapist to manage negative thought processes while exploring other lower back pain treatments.
Pulled Back Muscle And Lower Back Strain
Lower back strain, also referred to as a pulled muscle, is caused by damage to the muscles and ligaments of the lower back. Watch:Lower Back Strain Video
The lower spine, also called the lumbar spine, depends on these soft tissues to help hold the body upright and support weight from the upper body. If put under too much stress, the low back muscles| or soft tissues can become injured and painful.
While a pulled back muscle or strain may seem like a minor injury, the resulting pain and muscle spasms can be surprisingly severe.
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Back Strain Symptoms And Causes
You have many muscles in your back, and tendons attach muscles to bones. During a back strain injury, you can stretch one or more of these structures.
Back strain typically causes an achy pain that’s usually limited to the injured area. But the pain can also travel down into the buttock area.
You may also notice decreased flexibility of your movement. Your joints can become “guarded” if moving them is painful. Over time, constant muscle stiffness or intermittent muscle spasms can develop.
The strain can also lead to inflammation. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons says this inflammation can cause pain and/or back muscle spasms.
Often, back strain occurs when muscle or tendon fibers become torn or overstretched. Most of the time, back strains are caused by lifting heavy objects with a bent or twisted spine.
Can You Diagnose Strained Back Muscle
Medical professionals diagnose mild strains by studying the medical history of the patients. A qualified healthcare provider reviews the symptoms of the patients and the reason for injury or performs a physical examination.
If patients have severe sprains and strains and there is loss of mobility and weakness, a healthcare provider takes an X-ray to rule out aherniated disc or fractured as the back pain cause.
Strained back vs. herniated disc is a common phenomenon that confuses many people. It is important to understand that disc herniation is a more painful condition than back strains and requires long-term treatment, depending on the severity of your condition.
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How Can Low Back Strain Be Prevented
- Use correct body movements.
- Bend at the hips and knees when you pick up objects. Do not bend from the waist. Use your leg muscles as you lift the load. Do not use your back. Keep the object close to your chest as you lift it. Try not to twist or lift anything above your waist.
- Change your position often when you stand for long periods of time. Rest one foot on a small box or footrest, and then switch to the other foot often.
- Try not to sit for long periods of time. When you do, sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Never reach, pull, or push while you are sitting.
Causes And Diagnosis Of A Pulled Back Muscle
Trauma, stress, and tension may all cause strains and sprains. Some of the most common causes include:
- Falling, especially if you hit the ground hard or fall in an awkward position.
- Repetitive movements that stress and irritate the back muscles.
- Unsafe lifting, lifting while twisting, or lifting a very heavy object. Parents sometimes injure their backs throwing or playing with children.
- Excess weight that puts excess strain on back muscles. People who are overweight, people who suddenly gain weight, and pregnant women are more vulnerable to pulled muscles.
- A sedentary lifestyle. This may weaken the back, increasing the risk of injuries.
- Poor posture when sitting or bad form when doing athletic activities.
A medical professional may suspect a strain or sprain based on symptoms and your medical history. If another injury, such as a broken bone or herniated disc, is possible, the provider may do other tests, such as an x-ray or MRI scan.3
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Pulled Back Muscle Symptoms
The soft tissue in the lower back may become damaged for many different reasons, but some of the most common may include3:
- Twisting the spine or using poor form while lifting a heavy object
- Falling in a way that puts too much pressure on the spine
- Poor posture that stresses the connective tissues in the spine
- Sports injuries caused by pivoting, twisting, or physical impact
- A sedentary lifestyle followed by sudden intense exercise, since weak muscles and ligaments are more vulnerable to injury4
A sprain or strain in the back may cause symptoms such as5:
- Dull, aching pain in the lower back
- Difficulty standing, sitting, and twisting
- Stiffness in the lower back
- Muscle spasms
- Pain that radiates to other areaslower back sprains and strains may radiate to the hips or buttocks, while injuries in the upper back can cause neck or head pain
Although sprains and strains are different injuries, the treatment and symptoms are similar.
How Is Low Back Strain Diagnosed
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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Types Of Lower Back Strain
There are two common types of soft tissue injuries in the low back:
- Muscle strain occurs when fibers in a muscle begin to tear from being overstretched or overused .
- Lumbar sprain occurs when ligaments are overstretched or torn. Ligaments are tough, fibrous tissues that connect bones together.
A specific diagnosis of ligament sprain or muscle strain is usually not needed, as both have almost identical symptoms and receive the same treatment. This article refers mainly to lower back muscle strains, but applies to sprains or other soft tissues injuries as well.
Avoid Laying Down For Long Periods Of Time
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Manage Or Reduce Stress
Stress can trigger muscle tension and painful spasms, including in the back. If long-term stress or a traumatic event seems to have caused back pain, a person can try stress-relief techniques, such as:
- Mindfulness meditation.One study showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction improved back pain. Mindfulness involves being aware of what the body is doing and using meditation techniques to assist with the pain.
- Deep breathing. Taking deep breaths in and out for several minutes can calm the bodys stress response.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. This involves tensing and relaxing muscles in the body, focusing on one muscle group at a time. Lying on their back, a person can start with their feet and gradually move up to the shoulders.
- Guided imagery. This involves focusing on specific mental images to bring about a feeling of relaxation. One study found guided imagery and music helps with work-related chronic stress.
- Yoga. Yoga focuses on particular poses and breathing and can help with relaxation, especially when practiced regularly. One review found yoga to be an effective stress management tool.
Many smartphone apps are available to guide a person through relaxation techniques and meditation.
The Most Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain Are A Strain Or Sprain
Whether you notice it or not, your lumbar spine gets put to work throughout the entire day.
Amid all of this work and motion, a lower back sprain or strain can result from an acute injury, such as one experienced while falling, lifting something too heavy or playing sports. A sprain or strain can also develop over time due to repetitive movements or poor posture.
“Straining a muscle or spraining a ligament are the most common causes of lower back pain,” says Dr. Palmer. “While they can be serious, these common causes of lower back pain aren’t long-lasting taking anywhere from a few days to heal or, at most, a few months.”
Your doctor can help you determine the particular course of self-care that can help heal your lower back pain.
“The treatment for a pulled back muscle or strained back ligament is fairly simple and can include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, ice to help reduce inflammation, heat to promote healing, and avoiding strenuous activity until the pain recedes,” explains Dr. Palmer. “The best course of care will depend on the severity of your injury as well as your overall core and lower body strength.”
If your lower back pain persists despite treatment, it may be time to consider other causes of lower back pain.
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How Are Back Strains And Sprains Treated
The treatment for strains and sprains is similar, and often takes place in two phases.
The goal of the first phase is to reduce the pain and spasm. This may involve rest, and the use of ice packs and compression , especially for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury. An over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen , may be recommended to help reduce pain and swelling.
After the first 24 to 48 hours, returning to normal activities, as tolerated, is advisable. Extended bed rest or immobility simply prolongs symptoms and delays recovery.
Most people with lumbar strain/sprain symptoms improve in about 2 weeks. If symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks, additional treatment may be required.
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.
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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
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
Try Doing Gentle Back Stretches
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Phase : Endurance And Stability
Even though you can put some lower body lifts back into your program at this point, your priority needs to be on absolute perfect mechanics throughout each rep. I still didnt do any jumping or plyometric exercises, no kettlebell swings, cleans, or snatches, no slamballs, barbell back squats, or fast bilateral hip flexion or spinal flexion, and no circuits using my lower body. I did keep up with my upper body movements, but added in bodyweight and light kettlebell squats, deadlifts, lunges, and step ups, with a focus on pause/tempo reps.
With my workout routine, I had two lower body sessions per week, and still focused on upper body in lifting my sessions. I wanted to make sure my legs had plenty of time to recover, even though I wasnt really challenging them that much. I performed high repetition sets to drill the pattern without compromising my spinal position.
I kept up with my SMR, and increased the difficulty and range of motion on my rehab exercises while backing off on the TENS/EMS unit, and only using heat once a day. My sleep went back to eight or more hours, and my nutrition stayed the same as phase one, but I did add dextrose back in my post-workout shakes, now that my workouts were increasing in intensity.