Takeaways About Pulled Back Muscles
Key takeaway #1: Pulled lower back muscles can be extremely painful, but rarely require medical intervention.
Key takeaway #2: Several lifestyle factors could put you at greater risk for developing a pulled muscle in your back.
Key takeaway #3: Prescription and over-the-counter medications can often do more harm than good when treating a pulled back muscle.
Key takeaway #4: You can speed up recovery and reduce pain with a few simple at-home remedies: cold and heat therapy, natural anti-inflammatories, rest and stretching.
Key takeaway #5: To reduce your risk of pulling a back muscle in the future, focus on cleaning up your diet, reducing stress levels and making sure your back is properly supported.
Editors note: This article has been reviewed by a member of our medical advisory board. The content provided is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your physician if you have any questions about your health.
Should You Exercise Through Lower Back Pain
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, two thirds of Americans have lower back pain sometime during their lives. Its what to do with and about that pain that matters. Should you exercise through lower back pain? The common sense answer to you now may be: if it hurts when you do this, then dont do it.
All joking aside, chronic lower back pain can result in a lot of adults losing time at work, and it can interfere with normal day to day activities. The last thing you want to do is exacerbate the injury and increase the pain.
What If I Dont Want Surgery For My Back Pain
Fortunately, most people with back pain dont need surgery. We usually take a conservative approach first, using a wide variety of nonsurgical spine treatments, said Dr. Guo. For example, I might send you to physical therapy or chiropractic therapy. I might recommend medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or some nerve-pain medications. We offer injection therapy, including epidural injections, joint injections, and nerve blocks and ablation if your back pain fails to improve with the conservative treatments. Chances are, one of these approaches will help reduce your back pain and improve your function and quality of life.
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What Causes Lumbar Strain
Injury can damage the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury. Certain risk factors, such as excessive lower back curvature, forward-tilted pelvis, weak back, or abdominal muscles, and tight hamstrings, can increase the risk for this injury.
S To Take Immediately After A Back Injury
1. Engage in an Active Activity
You need to continue to your regular activities, but you may have to limit some tasks that aggravate your lower back muscles and cause pain.
Resting can cause you back to heal even slower and prolong your back pain, so make sure you do some type of activity to speed the healing process.
Walking and moving is an easy activity for anyone, so you need to continue those activities to help improve your health, but lifting and contact sports may need to be put on hold.
If you are moving and have to carry large boxes you may have to count yourself out and get the help you need to finish that activity without causing you more pain or injuring yourself even more.
The same thing with contact sports, you need to step back and support your team from the sidelines until you back is feeling better so you don’t put yourself in even more pain.
2. Ice-Heat Treatment
The rotation of ice and heat is usually a treatment that will help most people, but going it in the right ways is important for you to get the results you want.
Only use ice for the first 72 hours of your back pain. After that time period, you need to add heat to the rotation for your lower back pain.
The combination of the ice and heat allows you to reduce inflammation and loosen muscles at the same time, returning you to full health.
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Dont worry too much back pain doesnt last too long for most injuries.
4. Call Your Doctor
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How Can I Prevent Low Back Strain
Here are some tips to help you avoid low back strain:
- If you feel any low back pain during physical activity, stop.
- If you feel low back pain within a day of stepping up your workout, take it easy for a few days.
- Get your back in shape. Exercise and stretch your back muscles regularly.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleep on your back or your side, and wedge a pillow under or beneath your legs.
- When picking up something heavy, bend at the knees, not at the waist.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Adopt good posture. Sit straight in chairs, with your back against the chair’s back.
What’s The Treatment For Low Back Strain
Low back strain can be a painful and depressing injury. But the good news is that most cases heal on their own, given time. To speed the healing, you should:
- Ice your back to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you injure yourself. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. You can also ice your back after physical activity.
- Apply heat to your back — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your back only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle. Or you could just soak in a hot bath.
- Take painkillers or other drugs, if recommended by your doctor. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with lower back pain and swelling. However, these drugs may have side effects. They should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise. Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants are sometimes necessary.
- Use support. Ask your doctor or therapist first, but consider getting a belt or girdle to add support to your back. Use it only short-term or for support with heavy or repetitive lifting.
- Get physical therapy to build up strength, if your doctor recommends it. Do not stay in bed or on the couch all day. That will make it worse.
- Maintain good muscle tone in your abdominal and lower back muscles.
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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.
What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
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S To Reduce Back Pain
No type of back pain should be overlooked.
Your whole body relies on the health of your back and spine so you want to make sure you treat your pain the right way the first time.
Most pain will go away quickly but if it continues for more than a week or two then you need to seek medical attention.
In this blog, we take a look at 6 important steps to take immediately after experiencing back pain.
We use our back every day to complete regular activities such as sitting up, lifting, and reaching.
Your back is in use all day long making the tendons, muscles, and ligaments in your back work hard.
That’s why the health of the muscles is very important.
These three soft tissue structures need to work synergistically for you to function without pain.
Since they are in constant motion it is common for them to tear, pull or get over-stretched.
And if you’ve ever had a back strain, you know they are nothing to joke about.
When someone says their back is sprained they mean the ligaments are overstretched or torn. Now if they say it is strained then that means a muscle or tendon was overstretched or torn.
People tend to use back strain and back sprain interchangeably but they are in fact different and because of that, the course of treatment and length of that treatment differs also.
Either injury can happen so fast and is easy to do.
Signs that you have torn, strained, or pulled a muscle in your back:
- A sore or tender lower back
- Sudden pain
Inflammation And Muscle Spasm
When soft tissues in the low back are stretched or torn, the surrounding area will typically become inflamed.
Inflammation, or local swelling, is part of the bodys natural response to injury, in which blood is rushed to an injured tissue in order to restore it. Inflamed muscles may spasm, feel tender to the touch, or cramp , and contract tightly, causing intense pain.
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Lower Back Pain Causes: 8 Reasons For Sudden & Chronic Pain
Sometimes, you know exactly why your back is hurting. Maybe you lifted something awkwardly and felt the pain right away. Or maybe your doctor has been warning you for years that your bad posture would lead to lower back pain.
But other times, the source of back pain can feel like a mystery.
“Your lumbar spine, located in your lower back, plays a crucial role in supporting the weight of your upper body. It’s also responsible for everyday movements, such as bending, twisting and coordinating the muscles in your hips, pelvis legs and feet,” says Dr. Kenneth Palmer, orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine surgery at Houston Methodist. “Due to heavy use, the bones, muscles, ligaments, disks and nerves found in your lumbar spine are quite susceptible to both injury and wear and tear over time causing pain in the lower back.”
Lower back pain symptoms include:
- Dull ache in your hips and/or pelvis
- Muscle spasms or tightness
- Sharp, tingling pain that starts in your lower back and travels down one leg
- Pain that worsens with sitting and quickly improves while walking
- Pain that is noticeably worse in the morning
“Typically, a person experiences some combination of these symptoms, which can develop suddenly or over time. In some cases, lower back pain can feel like it comes and goes flaring up now and then, but generally getting progressively worse over time,” explains Dr. Palmer.
Speaking of the various causes of lower back 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.
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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.
Deadlifting And Your Lower Back
You see, for many people, having a sore lower back after deadlifting just kind of goes with the territory.
Indeed, if you do a Google search for lower back pain deadlifts, youll find lots of people talking about this very topic.
The problem is that many of them are further perpetuating the myth that your lower back is somehow supposed to hurt after deadlifting.
Take a look at this thread on Bodybuilding.com, entitled Lower back sore after deadlifts?
Youll notice that many of the people who chime in seem to think its normal to have lower back soreness after deadlifting.
In fact, the very first comment tries to reassure the initial poster, claiming: Yes very normal, Im sometimes sore for 2 days after I do deadlifts.
Wow, 2 days after, really?
Let me make this unequivocally clear: your lower back should not be sore for days after deadlifting!
It should not be sore for hours after deadlifting.
And it should definitely not be sore while youre deadlifting.
The truth is that if it is sore, you are simply doing it wrong. Much like I used to do.
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Pulled Muscle In Lower Back Recovery Time
You should limit normal activity for the first few days after your injury but resume it as soon as you can after that time. Wait a few weeks before going back to an exercise regimen or sport.
Most people will be fully recovered within two weeks of the injury, but if the pain isnt getting better after a weeks time, see a doctor.
There are several things you can do to prevent straining your lower back, some that help strengthen it and others that are precautionary. These include:
- stretching and strengthening exercises
When To Start Moving Again
After about one to three days of rest, start to move again to prevent stiffness and improve blood flow to injured muscles.
Engaging in slow, easy stretching and walking for 10-minute increments can help. Examples include pulling the knees in toward the chest or pulling straight legs toward the chest.
While some activities can be beneficial, others have the potential to worsen back pain. Avoid activities that involve:
- heavy lifting
- twisting the spine, such as hitting a golf or tennis ball
In addition to at-home treatments, your doctor may recommend and prescribe additional treatments. Examples include:
- physical therapy
- stronger anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or pain medications
- steroid injections
In rare instances, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct injuries. If you have chronic back pain that was worsened by an injury, this may be the case.
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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.
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.