How Is Lumbar Strain Treated
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment may include:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Learning how to use and wear appropriate protective equipment
Medicines, such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and spinal injections, may also be used to ease pain and inflammation.
Herniated Disk In The Upper Back
A herniated, ruptured, or “slipped” disc means that a vertebral disc â one of the soft pads of tissue that sit between each of the vertebral bones â has becomes squeezed out of shape. Its cushioning material has been forced against, and possibly through, the ring of fibrous tissue that normally contains it. This causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.
The normal aging process causes the discs lose moisture and become thinner, making them more vulnerable to “slipping.”
Most susceptible are men from ages 30 to 50. Smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and improper lifting are also risk factors.
Symptoms include pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the back, leg, and foot.
Diagnosis is made through patient history, neurological examination, and MRI scan.
Treatment begins with rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and sometimes epidural steroid injections into the back to ease pain and inflammation.
Surgery to remove the herniated part of the disc â the part that was squeezed out of place â can also be helpful.
Top Symptoms: upper back pain, neck pain, arm weakness, back pain that gets worse when sitting, upper spine pain
Symptoms that always occur with herniated disk in the upper back: upper back pain
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Tips To Relieve The Pain
- Stay active and continue your daily routines. Resting is likely to make your pain worse.
- Apply heat or ice for about twenty minutes frequently throughout the day to ease your pain and any inflammation.
- Try exercises for back pain and activities including walking, swimming, yoga and Pilates.
- Take over-the-counter pain relief such as ibuprofen.
- Stretch tight muscles for a few minutes every day.
- Keep good posture as this will ease the pressure on your lower back.
- Maintain a healthy weight to ensure an optimal load on your lower back.
- Ensure you lift safely by bending with your knees to a squat position and holding the load close to your chest.
- Drink plenty of water every day and limit your intake of animal protein and salt to reduce your risk of kidney stones.
- Wipe from front to back when going to the toilet to prevent infection from bacteria in your colon passing to your urinary tract.
- Give up smoking as the nicotine in tobacco can weaken your spinal bones and remove nutrients from your discs that may lead to spine problems.
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What You Can Do
Often you can stay home: There are many effective home remedies for upper back pain relief. A typical episode of muscle strain usually lasts only a few days, explains Dr. Chang. Staying comfortable during this time is key. He suggests resting, icing, and taking anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen.
Middle Back Pain: Causes Treatment & More
Neck and low back pain get a lot more attention, but pain in the mid-back can have similar, debilitating impacts on quality of life.
The middle back, called the thoracic spine, is below the neck but above the bottom of the rib cage.
The thoracic spine includes 12 vertebrae and 12 spinal disks .
Each of the thoracic vertebrae attaches to your ribcage. You also have ligaments and muscles in the thoracic spine.
Middle back pain can occur if any of these become injured or irritated as a result of illness, injury, or other health problems.
In this article, Ill outline some of the symptoms of middle back pain, its causes, and how its diagnosed. Ill also talk about treatments for mid-back pain, and tell you when you should see a doctor.
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How Is Upper Back Pain Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask you questions about your medical history, activity level and symptoms. They will also ask you questions about your pain. These questions may include:
- When did the pain start?
- Where does the pain hurt the most?
- Does anything you do make the pain feel better?
- Does anything you do make the pain feel worse?
Your healthcare provider may do a physical exam. They may have you lift or bend your legs to see how moving affects your pain. Your healthcare provider may test your muscle strength and reflexes.
Depending on what your healthcare provider finds, they may order additional tests. These tests may include:
- Spine X-ray: Uses radiation to produce images of the bones in your spine.
- Magnetic resonance imaging scan: Uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of your bones, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues in your spine.
- Computed tomography scan: Uses X-rays and a computer to create 3D images of the bones and soft tissues in the spine.
- Electromyography : Tests the nerves and muscles in your spine and checks for nerve damage , which can cause tingling or numbness in your legs.
- Blood test: Can detect genetic markers for some conditions that cause back pain.
Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer
Lower back pain can be related to cancer. In fact, it is one of the first symptoms of prostate cancer when it metastasizes and creates lesions. Almost any cancer can spread to the back and some, like sarcoma, can originate in the back. Be cautious, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms besides lower back pain. Talk to your doctor if you have additional symptoms or concerns.
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You Were In A Car Accident
If youre able to walk away from a rear end crash and feel OK, you may decide not to get checked out by a doctor. However, whiplasha violent backward-and-forward jerk of the headcan create tears and inflammation of the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back, explains Dr. Chang. See your doctor if you suspect whiplash, especially if you have other symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and pain in your neck.
When To Call A Doctor
911 or other emergency services immediately if:
- Back pain occurs with chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in your chest.
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- A fast or uneven heartbeat.
- You have a new loss of bowel or bladder control.
- You have new or worse numbness in your legs.
- You have new or worse weakness in your legs.
- You have new or increased back pain with fever, painful urination, or other signs of a urinary tract infection.
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You’re Having Problems With Your Bowels Or Urination
If your back pain is paired with a loss of control over your bowels or urination, then it’s time to seek help immediately at a local emergency room. These symptoms point to cauda equina syndrome, where the nerves in the lower spine have become paralyzed. While rare, this syndrome can be permanently damaging to the nerves if left untreated. If you experience these symptoms, especially accompanied by numbness in the legs, then you may need surgery to decompress the nerves and preserve their overall function.
Treatment For Middle Back Pain
Treatment for middle back pain varies based on the cause of the pain. Because back pain is fairly common, most people first attempt to treat it at home using simple, inexpensive, and noninvasive treatment methods. If home remedies dont help your symptoms, medical treatments or surgery may be required.
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Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.
Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.
Treatment If Back Pain Gets Worse
If your back pain doesn’t get better or it gets worse, your doctor may recommend:
- Prescription medicines, such as opioids, to help reduce pain.
- Prescription muscle relaxants to help reduce pain and muscle tension and improve mobility. These can help with severe muscle spasms that happen when the back pain starts .
- Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and duloxetine, to help treat long-lasting back pain.
- Steroid shots to help reduce swelling and relieve pressure on nerves and nerve roots. But there is little evidence showing that these shots can help control back pain.
In some cases, a back brace may be used to support the bones in the spine after a fracture.
Surgery is seldom used to treat upper and middle back pain. If your doctor recommends surgery, the type will depend on the problem you have. Surgery choices may include:
- Herniated disc removal. It removes the portion of the disc that is herniated and pushing into the spinal canal. In most cases, herniated discs that occur in the upper and middle back are small and don’t need surgery. But you may need surgery for a large herniated disc that presses on the spinal cord.
- Spinal decompression for stenosis. It widens the spinal canal that has narrowed, and it relieves pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. This procedure is not done very often, because spinal stenosis in the upper and middle back is rare.
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It Could Also Be Stress
Along with sub-par posture, strain in the muscles around the neck and shoulders or between the shoulder blades can be multi-factorial, says Kaliq Chang, MD, an interventional pain management specialist at the Atlantic Spine Center in West Orange, New Jersey. Most notably: stress, strenuous exercise, and sleeping with your neck in a weird position.
What Are Some Common Lower Back Pain Causes
The causes of lower back pain are sometimes viewed as being mechanical, organic or idiopathic. Sometimes spinal conditions are congenital or acquired meaning the disorder develops later in life.
- Mechanical lower back pain is often triggered by spinal movement and involves spinal structures, such as the facet joints, intervertebral discs, vertebral bodies , ligaments, muscles or soft tissues.
- Organic lower back pain is attributed to disease, such as spinal cancer.
- Idiopathic refers to an unknown cause.
These are some of the things your doctor might look for or rule out when you schedule a visit for back pain.
The common symptoms of lower back pain.
Sprains and strains. Ligament sprains and muscle or tendon strains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Theyre often related to overuse.
Degenerative disc disease. While the name sounds worrisome, it just means you have a damaged disc causing pain. Over time, discs become thinner and flatter due to wear and tear. That leaves them less able to cushion the vertebrae and more likely to tear .
Herniated disc. The protective covering on intervertebral discs can tear over time. When this happens, the soft inner disc tissue may push through the outer layer. A disc that bulges or slips out of place is known as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or slipped disc. The herniation may press on nerve roots, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve serves
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You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week
Most back pain will subside after a few days, but if you’ve been experiencing pain for over a week, then it’s time to call a doctor. Your doctor will perform any examinations or tests required to help get to the bottom of your pain before it could become a bigger problem. As is the case with many health conditions, prevention and addressing problems early is key.
Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
If you have osteoarthritis of the spine, the joint cartilage wears down, which can irritate spinal nerves and cause flank pain, according to Ornelas.
Osteoarthritis of the spine can sometimes lead to the growth of bone spurs, as well, which can cause another problem called spinal stenosis, in which the spinal canal narrows and the spinal cord and nerve roots can become compressed. Nonsurgical treatment options, such as physical therapy or braces, may relieve symptoms if not, surgery is an option.
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How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
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Middle Back Pain From A Herniated Disc
A herniated disc developers when a disc protrusion ruptures or herniates through the delicate wall of the intervertebral disc. As a result, the viscous material from the interior of the disc can spill into the spinal canal, thereby producing intense middle back pain from impinging on sensitive nerves on one side of the body. In most cases, disc herniation originates from gradual, age-related wear and tear referred to as disc degeneration. Signs and symptoms of herniated discs depend on the location in the spine and if the disc is pressing on a nerve. The most common symptoms a patient will experience include pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf, numbness or tingling from the affected nerves, and muscle weakness affecting stability and the ability to lift or hold items.
You Have Unexplained Weight Loss
If you experience sudden weight loss that can’t be explained by diet and lifestyle changes, then you should always pay attention to what your body is telling you. This is especially true when the unexplained weight loss is accompanied by back pain. See your doctor to rule out the possibility of a more severe condition, such as an infection or tumor.
Donkey Kicks Lower Back Pain Radiating To Both Sides
This is an additional glutes workout action that doubles as a lower-back assistant.Just how to do it: Come down on your hands as well as knees, with your hands straight over your shoulders. Elevate up your ideal leg, keeping your knee at a 90-degree angle, till your leg is parallel to the ground. Slowly lower it pull back to the ground. Repeat for 90 secs, after that switch over legs.
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Symptoms Of Low Back Pain Lower Back Pain Both Sides Above Hip
These could range from a plain ache to a stabbing or firing experience. The discomfort may make it hard to relocate or stand up right. Pain that comes on suddenly is intense. It might occur throughout sports or heavy lifting. Pain that lasts more than 3 months is considered chronic. If your pain is not better within 72 hrs, you need to consult a physician.
Normal Occurence Of Chest Pain
Sometimes chest pain is not a sign of a heart attack. The following symptoms are usually typical of more benign conditions:
If the pain is brief, like a short shock, and subsides right away, it is most likely from an injury such as a broken rib or pulled muscle in the chest.
Sharp pain in the chest that improves with exercise is probably from acid reflux or a similar condition, and will be eased with antacids.
A small, sharp pain anywhere in the chest that actually feels worse on breathing is probably from a lung inflammation such as pneumonia or asthma.
An actual heart attack involves intense, radiating chest pain that lasts for several minutes worsens with activity and is accompanied by nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, and pain in the arms, back, or jaw. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.
If there is any question as to whether the symptoms are serious or not, a medical provider should be seen as soon as possible.
Top Symptoms: chest pain, rib pain
Symptoms that always occur with normal occurrence of chest pain: chest pain
Symptoms that never occur with normal occurrence of chest pain: being severely ill, shortness of breath, fainting, severe chest pain, crushing chest pain, excessive sweating, nausea or vomiting
Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit
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