When Should I Call My Doctor About My Back Muscles
If you have back pain that doesnt getter better with pain relievers and rest, call your provider. Get help right away if you have:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Your back muscles play an essential role in helping you move, stand up straight and breathe. They also stabilize your spine and torso. Because these muscles work so hard and have many important jobs, back muscle injuries are very common. To prevent an injury and avoid back muscle pain, you should maintain a healthy weight, stay physically active and strengthen your core muscles. Lift objects properly, and take time to warm up your muscles before exercise. By staying healthy overall, youll keep your back muscles strong so they can support your body.
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.
Muscles Of The Lumbar Spine Of The Trunk
Muscles of the Lumbar Spine
This blog post article is an overview of the muscles of the lumbar spine of the trunk. For more complete coverage of the structure and function of the low back and pelvis, The Muscular System Manual â The Skeletal Muscles of the Human Body, 4th ed. should be consulted.
To perform clinical clinical orthopedic manual therapy to the lumbar spine that is accurate and specific, the therapist needs to know the attachments and actions of the muscles of the region. For example, to know where to place the palpating hand when applying deep tissue work into the low back and pelvis, the manual therapist must know the attachments of the target muscle to be worked to be able to locate the target muscle accurately.
Before memorizing the detailed actions of each muscle of the lumbar spine, it is helpful first to visualize each muscle within its larger structural and functional groups. Figures 16 through 18 display the muscles of the trunk and pelvis.
Figure 16. Posterior view of the musculature of the low back and pelvis region. Superficial view on the left with an intermediate view on the right. Deeper set of views. Courtesy Joseph E. Muscolino. Manual Therapy for the Low Back and Pelvis â A Clinical Orthopedic Approach .
Figure 17. Right lateral views of the musculature of the low back and pelvis region. Superficial view. Deeper view. Courtesy Joseph E. Muscolino. Manual Therapy for the Low Back and Pelvis â A Clinical Orthopedic Approach .
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Why Your Back Muscles Hurt
This may sound suspiciously like common sense, but your back muscles hurt when you pull them too far or place them under too much strain.
But contrary to common misperception, the underlying cause of this back muscle pain is not poor posture, how much you exercise or even your genetic history.
Instead, poor posture can be strong evidence of the real cause. Exercise of the wrong kind can make it worse . And the good news is you can do something about this underlying cause of back pain regardless of your genetics.
The root cause of virtually all non-trauma related back muscle pain and a major contributor to many back conditions like herniated discs are muscle imbalances.
One way to visualize muscle imbalances and how they cause back pain is to think of your car. If the wheels are out of alignment, the tires will wear unevenly, making them more susceptible to an early blowout.
Imbalanced muscles do the same thing to your back. Muscle pain results when one muscle or group of muscles overpowers an opposing set of muscles that get stretched out of shape.
And heres the kicker many of the muscles affecting your back pain arent in your back!
For example, sitting all day long leads to weak abs, glutes, and hamstrings which go unused much of the day. In the meanwhile, your hip flexors, quadriceps and lumbar muscles remain tight to keep you in an upright position.
This video explains how muscle imbalances affect your pain, and how to fix them.
Rest But Not Too Much
Dont rest too long. A little couch time wont hurt, but light activity speeds recovery, so avoid lying down for long periods of time.
Growing evidence shows there is little or no benefit to bed rest over staying active.
So use this rule of thumb: listen to your body.
Ultimately, your level of pain will determine your level of activity.
If a certain activity led to a pulled muscle dont repeat it for at least a week.
For example, if your back pain started after lifting something heavy, avoid lifting heavy objects for at least a week while your pulled back muscle heals.
Also, avoid sitting for too long. Long periods of sitting can tighten your muscles and cause lower back muscle pain and stiffness.
When you sit and stand, use good posture, avoiding slumping in your head and shoulders.
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What Is The Purpose Of Your Back Muscles
Your back muscles are the main structural support for your trunk . These muscles help you move your body, including your head, neck, shoulders, arms and legs. Your back muscles work together to allow you to bend over, twist, turn your head and extend your back.
These muscles also help you sit and stand up straight. They play an essential role in supporting your spine and helping you breathe. Their jobs include:
Superficial muscles: These muscles help you move your arms, shrug your shoulders and keep your spine straight. Superficial muscles include:
- Latissimus dorsi , which helps you extend and rotate your shoulder and arm.
- Levator scapulae, which raises your scapula .
- Rhomboids, two muscles that work together to pull the scapula inward toward the spine.
- Trapezius , which helps you move your body, raise your arms and have good posture.
Intermediate: The intermediate muscles assist with breathing. They attach to the ribs and help your chest expand and contract when you inhale and exhale.
Intrinsic: These muscles stabilize your spine and help you bend, rotate, flex and extend your back. They also help you control your trunk, neck and head.
Oh My Aching Back Back Sprains And Strains And How To Treat Them
About 80% of us experience back pain of some kind during our lifetime. In the majority of cases, pain occurs in the lumbar spine , because this is the area that bears the most weight, especially when moving, twisting, and bending. Back sprains are caused when ligamentsthe tough bands of tissue that hold bones togetherbecome overstretched or torn. Back strains involve a muscle and/or tendon. However, many times the source of the pain can’t be clearly defined. Sometimes the condition or injury that triggered the pain may be healed, but the pain still persists.
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Muscles Of The Low Back
Muscles of the Low Back and Pelvis posterior deep view
Muscles of the Low Back and Pelvis posterior superficial view
Muscles of the Low Back and Pelvis right lateral deep view
Muscles of the Low Back and Pelvis right lateral superficial view
Muscles of the Low Back and Pelvis anterior deep view
When To See A Doctor
If the pain has not eased after 12 weeks, a person should see a doctor.
In some circumstances, a person may need to go to the emergency department or call 911. It is important to seek medical help if:
- a person hears a crack when they sustain the injury
- the injured part of the back is numb, discolored, or cold to the touch
- sit in a chair with lumbar support
The following tips may also be beneficial:
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Back pain after a severe blow or fall
- Burning with urination or blood in your urine
- History of cancer
- Loss of control over urine or stool
- Pain traveling down your legs below the knee
- Pain that is worse when you lie down or pain that wakes you up at night
- Redness or swelling on the back or spine
- Severe pain that does not allow you to get comfortable
- Unexplained fever with back pain
- Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis
Also call if:
- You have been losing weight unintentionally
- You use steroids or intravenous drugs
- You have had back pain before, but this episode is different and feels worse
- This episode of back pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks
What Should I Know About Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.
The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.
As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.
Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.
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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.
What Conditions Affect Your Back Muscles
Most commonly, injuries affect how the back muscles work. Problems affecting the back include:
- Muscle strains: Muscles in the back can stretch or tear. These common injuries usually result from lifting a heavy object , exercise, overuse or an accident. Back strains can lead to muscle cramps or muscle spasms. In severe injuries, the back muscles can be paralyzed.
- Pain, tightness and stiffness: Chronic pain in the back is extremely common. Pain can lead to stiffness and decreased mobility . Tense muscles and back muscle pain can also result from depression, stress and anxiety. Pain in the neck and upper back can lead to headaches.
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What Not To Do For A Pulled Back Muscle
When your back hurts, you probably reach for a bottle of painkillers such as NSAIDs and get in bed or crash on the couch. Or you go to the doctor, who may prescribe muscle relaxants.
Im not a fan of Big Pharmas pills.
For one, both NSAIDs and muscle relaxants come with side effects. Some are just annoying, while others are downright dangerous.
Muscle relaxants like the popular Flexeril can cause:
- dry mouth or throat
- loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea
- diarrhea, constipation, gas
- muscle weakness
And NSAIDs come with their own long list of dangerous side effects, the worst of which is an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
For short-term pain relief, I recommend natural painkillers.
But there are other ways to relieve the pain and speed up the healing process.
Key takeaway: Big Pharmas solutions fall short when it comes to pulled back muscles and may even cause serious side effects.
Extensor Flexor And Oblique Muscles And Back Pain
Three types of back muscles that help the spine function are extensors, flexors and obliques.
- The extensor muscles are attached to back of the spine and enable standing and lifting objects. These muscles include the large paired muscles in the lower back, called erector spinae, which help hold up the spine, and gluteal muscles.
- The flexor muscles are attached to the front of the spine and enable flexing, bending forward, lifting, and arching the lower back.
- The oblique muscles are attached to the sides of the spine and help rotate the spine and maintain proper posture.
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What Is A Back Muscle Strain
Muscle strains or ruptures can occur in the back just like they can anywhere else in the body. A muscle strain or tear in the back is usually caused by a sudden movement or lifting something that is too heavy. The low back pain, however, is often a long time coming on as the muscles in the back gradually tighten up due to bad posture and overuse.
These muscles go into spasm and do not get enough blood through them resulting in weakness. So when someone complains of low back pain when they bend down to pick up a piece of paper and tear a muscle in the back, it is not just the piece of paper that caused it but a gradual build-up of tension over weeks and months.
Is Walking Good For Lower Back Pain
Much of the time, Pain in the lower back is better in standing. If your pain decreases in standing, a light walk may also be beneficial. It is best to start with a short distance and see how the pain responds. Sometimes, inflammation and pain increase several hours after an activity. So, it is best not to overdo it initially, even if there is no initial increase in pain. If pain increases in standing, it would be best to consult a physician or physical therapist before beginning a walking program.
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Anatomy Of Back Muscles
Your back consists of three distinct layers of muscles, namely the superficial layer, the intermediate layer, and the deep layer. These layers of back muscles help to mobilize and stabilize your trunk during your day to day activities. They also attach your shoulders and pelvis to the trunk, creating a bridge between your upper body and lower body.
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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Important Training Variables With Back Training And The Barbell
There are some important training variables that you must follow when it comes to back training. Here are 6 things you need to pay attention to and employ into your workouts over time…
Like with any muscle, you want to facilitate the greatest range of motion safely possible. For back training, this means allowing shoulder flexion to stretch the lats, and protraction to stretch the traps and rhomboids. Specific to barbells, the range of motion of the lats, traps and rhomboids is increased when youre parallel to the ground, accommodating greater protraction and flexion.
You should also ensure the target muscle is the limiting factor of the exercise. By focussing on pulling from the elbow – not the hand – you can stop the bicep from fatiguing prematurely, focussing more on back recruitment. The direction of the elbow dictates what region of the back is used. Rowing to your chest with flared elbows will stress the mid and upper back, while rowing to your hip crease, driving your elbows into your side, will be more lat focussed.
Finally, it is important to standardize your technique to allow for an accurate assessment of progress. Doing so will help you to understand if youre actually getting stronger or just getting more upright from session to session allow you to add load.
2. Strategic Variation:
3. Targeting various regions of the back:
6. Rep ranges and intensity: