Causes Of A Strained Back Muscle
Sometimes even simply pulling or twisting a tendon or muscles may result in a strained back. That means, even a single instance of overstressing the lower back muscles or improper lifting can cause back strain. If you have a long-term strain, it may be the result of repetitive, prolonged muscles and tendon use.
As we discussed above, a sprain may occur after a sudden twist, fall, or a blow to the joint, affecting its normal position. All these conditions can stretch the ligament beyond the normal movement range and cause injury.
In addition to that, there can be many factors that may put you at greater risk of getting a sprained or strained back. These can include:
-Curving your lower back excessively
-Having weak abdominal or back muscles
Usually, athletes and sports persons experience this problem as their daily routine involves a lot of pulling, pushing, and weight lifting. They are at higher risk of a lower back injury.
Who Gets Back Pain
Most people have back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common medical problems. Youre more likely to experience back pain as you get older.
Many people hurt their backs when they lift, push, or pull something that’s too heavy.
You may also be at risk for back pain if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have poor posture
- Arent physically active
- Fall or have an accident
- Have a health problem that can cause back pain
Treatment Options For Stress
The first thing we do with every patient who has back pain is determine its root cause. Its important to understand that no adult can expect to live 100 percent pain-free or stress-free. However, we can discuss ways to minimize discomfort and help patients feel less tense.
An effective way to reduce stress and back pain is to exercise and stretch more.
Physical activity can release endorphins and improve overall health, which can help reduce stress. Make a point to get up during the work day and do a few laps around the office every few hours, or try a standing desk. At home, reserve time to exercise. Physical therapy also can help relieve spine pain and return your neck and back to optimal flexibility. A physical therapist can show you specific stretches to pinpoint trouble areas in your neck and back.
Eating a healthy diet also can help reduce stress.
When you eat well long term, your general health can improve, and you will likely feel more energetic. Healthy eating is key to weight loss and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight offloads pressure from your spine and improves your posture.
Additionally, its important to make time in your schedule to relax.
Many patients with back pain are very busy with work, family, and social commitments. Carve out time to read a good book, spend time with family and friends, or practice mindfulness or meditation.
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.
Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.
Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.
There are two types of back pain:
- Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
- Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.
Recommended Reading: Why Do I Have Lower Back Pain All The Time
Supine Figure 4 Stretch
If youre suffering from back pain that travels to your legs, and you feel lower back stiffness after sitting, the supine figure 4 stretch might provide some relief.
As it targets deep buttock muscles, you can feel a sense of relief in your lower back stiffness.
Steps to Perform Supine Figure 4 Stretch:
1: To begin with, lie with your knees bent and feet placed right on the floor.
2: Lift your right foot and place the right ankle on your left thigh.
3: Creating the shape of 4 with your legs, open your right knee outward.
4: While holding this position, reach your hands behind your left thigh.
5: Using your hand, lift your left foot and guide it to bring your left knee towards your chest.
6: Hold this position for a few seconds, then release it on the floor then switch sides.
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.
Also Check: What Doctor To See For Back And Leg Pain
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.
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.
You May Like: How Painful Is Back Waxing
What Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain Actually Work
Unless youve had a major injury, such as a fall or car accident, you probably dont need to rush to the doctor for back pain. You may want to try these simple self-care strategies first.
Avoid bed rest. When lower back pain strikes, people often think complete rest will relieve back pain. However, a review of many clinical studies found that patients who retreated to bed actually experienced more pain and recovered more slowly than patients who stayed fairly active
Use ice and/or heat. Many people find that using ice or cold packs for periods of up to 20 minutes at a time helps reduce pain and swelling. Always wrap ice or a cold pack in a thin towel before putting it on your body so you dont injure your skin. You may also find that heat, such as a heating pad or warm bath, eases pain. Ice is recommended in the first 48 hours after injury then you can try a combo of ice and heat.
Try over-the-counter remedies. Short-term use of OTC pain relievers, such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen, may ease your lower back pain. Also consider OTC creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin. They stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain.
How To Give A Back Massage
With just a few tools and some basic massage techniques, you can give a back message to a friend or family member or even show them how to give you one. Heres a video about giving a lower back massage:
Keep in mind that you should never apply pressure directly to the spine. Only use gentle pressure to avoid injury and discomfort.
Then, you can start to massage the back using several different methods. Massage each side of the back separately.
Once youve gone through these motions, you can do a few more moves to ease any remaining back pain.
You May Like: What Causes Pain Across The Upper Back
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.
Eat More Tart Cherries
Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that can help mitigate the symptoms of muscle damage.
Consuming tart cherry juice or tart Montmorency cherry concentrate before and during strenuous physical training can help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness and promote tissue recovery. This nutritional intervention is particularly helpful for endurance athletes and women as a means to manage muscle pain.
How to use:
- You can eat whole tart cherries as part of your regular diet.
- Tart cherry juice contains concentrated amounts of antioxidants and is often used as an energy drink post-workout. But it may contain copious amounts of sugar, which is why you need to consume it in recommended amounts for it to be truly healthy.
- You can also derive the nutritional goodness of tart cherries from commercially available supplements, but always consult your doctor regarding its safety and proper dosage before starting.
Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that can help mitigate the symptoms of muscle damage.
Don’t Miss: Do You Have Back Pain With Kidney Disease
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.
Are You Making Your Back Pain Worse
Don’t be guilty of exacerbating your already achy back. Try these tips for preventing added low back pain:
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes if you are on your feet all day.
- Don’t slouch when standing or sitting.
- At home or work, make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height.
- Warm-up and stretch before exercise or other strenuous physical activity.
- Don’t try to lift objects that are too heavy and don’t twist while lifting.
- Live a healthy lifestyle, stop smoking, and keep off the extra weight.
Read Also: What Could Cause Middle Back Pain
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Excessive body weight can overburden your muscles, and make you prone to muscle pain. Therefore, you must shed the extra pounds by eating healthy and exercising to find a long-term solution to this problem.
While a low-fat, fibrous diet with proper portion control is the main source of weight loss, a suitable exercise regimen can accelerate this process and help you build extra muscle.
Take Action: Prevent Injuries
Good posture can help prevent back pain.
- Try not to slouch when standing and sitting
- Sit up straight with your back against the back of your chair and your feet flat on the floor if possible, keep your knees slightly higher than your hips
- Stand tall with your head up and shoulders back
- If you can, switch between standing and sitting so youre not in the same position for too long
- Find out how to have good posture while sitting at a computer
Read Also: What Is The Best Remedy For Lower Back Pain
How Can You Prevent Lower Back Pain
While you cant stop aging or change your genetic makeup, lifestyle changes can help manage and prevent lower back pain. Having a healthy lifestyle may make you less likely to suffer an accidental injury, too.
Improve your physical fitness. People who are not physically fit are more likely to develop lower back pain because strong core muscles help support the lower back.
Stay active. People who lead sedentary lives may be more likely to injure themselves when they do exert themselves. As far as back health is concerned, its better to do a smaller amount of physical activity most days of the week than to sit all week and over-exert yourself on the weekends.
Lose weight if necessary. The more you weigh, the more pressure you have on your lumbar vertebrae. Being overweight or obese can put stress on the back and lead to lower back pain.
Lift heavy objects the right way. Be sure to squat while lifting so that your hips and knees do much of the work. Keep the load close to your chest while you lift.
Your legs, not your lower back, should be the main driver when you’re lifting something heavy.Make your workspace as ergonomic as possible. If you sit at a desk, make sure your chair has plenty of low-back support and your hips are at a right angle to the floor.
Dont use tobacco products. In addition to all the other health problems tobacco use causes, it can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Living With Lumbar Strain
Cold reduces swelling. Both cold and heat can reduce pain. Protect your skin by placing a towel between your body and the ice or heat source.
- For the first few days, apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes.
- After the first few days, try heat for 15 minutes at a time to ease pain. Never sleep on a heating pad.
- Over-the-counter medicines can help control pain and swelling. Try aspirin or ibuprofen.
Recommended Reading: What Type Of Mattress Is Good For Back Pain
Trigger Point Foam Roller
The Grid Trigger Point Foam Roller
Unlike a regular foam roller, trigger point foam rollers are compact, heavy-duty foam rollers with different patterns on the surface for a variety of manipulations and applications.
They really put the regular foam rollers to shame. They wont crumble apart after a few weeks of use and they can really be helpful for your sore muscles.
Simply lie down on the roller and move around until you feel the pressure on your muscle knot. Roll over the painful area for about 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
The Grid Foam Roller comes with a great guide on how to use it on different parts of the body, which is very helpful.
An infrared heating pad is probably the least known muscle knots reliever, yet the most effective one in my experience.
First, its highly effective. For me, it works every time, and youll have trouble finding even one person claiming that an infrared heat pad hasnt helped relieve their pain any kind of pain without medication.
Second, it requires you to doabsolutely nothing.
All you have to do is take a 30-minute nap while youre on it. Or read a book. Or watch television.
My Infrared heating pad has made my home much more popular in the last few years.
It can be used to relieve any type of pain, anywhere in your body, safely and naturally.
And, it has many other amazing uses which Ive written about many times.