Treatment For Pulled Back Muscles
Most pulled muscles are fairly straightforward to diagnose and can be treated with ice or heat and over-the-counter pain medication. While your injury heals, its best to avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting.
- an ice pack wrapped in a towel applied for 10 to 20 minutes several times a day to reduce inflammation and ease pain when the injury first occurs.
- heat packs applied several times a day after the first 48 hours to increase circulation and speed healing.
- over-the-counter or prescription pain medicationssuch as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxento reduce inflammation.
- muscle relaxants, which require a prescription, to help ease painful muscle spasms.
- physical therapy to strengthen muscles and provide better support for the spine and reduce the chance of future injury.
- gentle stretching exercises to increase blood flow to the injury and strengthen the back and abdominal muscles that support the spine.
- massage to reduce muscle tension and pain, increase circulation, and improve range-of-motion.
- a 5- to 10-minute walk a couple of times a day to relieve back stiffness and promote physical activity to avoid future problems.
In most all cases, pain from a pulled back muscle gets better after only a few days. But if it lasts for more than a week or two or the pain is severe, its time to call your doctor. If you experience a loss of feeling in your legs or groin, fever, loss of control of your bowels or bladder, or severe abdominal pain, get medical help.
Muscle Strain In Your Back
Pulled muscles are also known as strains, which can affect either the muscle itself or the tendon, which is a thick band of tissue that connects the muscle to the bone. Muscle strains can range from a mild or moderate overstretch of the muscle or a partial tear. In severe cases, a strain may indicate a complete tear.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that sports like soccer, football, hockey, wrestling and other contact sports put you at risk for muscle strains. They also cite explosive sports that require quick starts, like hurdling, long jump and running races, as potentials for acute strains.
Overuse sprains are a result of a chronic overuse of lower back muscles or tendons. According to the Cleveland Clinic, poor posture, weak abdominal muscles, tight hamstrings and being overweight can put undue stress on your lower back muscles, which increases your risk for a muscle strain.
These problems are all preventable with an exercise program that focuses on proper stretches for the hamstrings, strengthening of the abdominal muscles and proper instruction on how to lift and handle heavy objects.
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Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From 111 If:
You have back pain and:
- a high temperature
- you’ve lost weight without trying to
- there’s a lump or swelling in your back or your back has changed shape
- the pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night
- the pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
- the pain is coming from the top of your back , rather than your lower back
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Effective Treatments For Pulled Strained Or Torn Back Muscle
Most people will suffer from back pain caused by a pulled, strained, or torn muscle in their back. Your back contains muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support your upper body, give you strength for performing tasks and help move your neck, shoulders, and arms. Pulling, straining, or tearing a muscle can cause shooting severe pain if you suffer an acute injury. Or, back muscle strain caused by overuse can cause deep aches and chronic pain that can affect your daily activities.
Treating muscle pain in your back usually requires getting plenty of rest to prevent irritating the inflamed tissue even more. Also, hot and cold treatment can be effective in speeding up the recovery time by helping to reduce swelling and inflammation. Pulled back muscle treatments also include essential oils that are effective to treat pulled, torn, or strained back muscles as well as Epsom salt bath.
In this article, you will learn about the best and most effective treatments for strained lower back muscles, pulled or torn upper and middle back muscles, and how to treat back pain in general.
First, its important to know something about the muscles in your back.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lumbar Strain
The following are the most common symptoms of a lumbar strain. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Sudden lower back pain
- Spasms in the lower back that result in more severe pain
- Lower back feels sore to the touch
The symptoms of a lumbar strain may resemble other conditions and medical problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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How To Heal A Pulled Muscle In Your Back
A muscle strain, also called a pulled muscle, occurs when a muscle is overstretched or overworked, and small tears occur within the muscle.
A pulled muscle can take up to 6 weeks to heal completely.
You can speed your recovery in many ways:
Self Massage using a simple self-massage tool can promote blood circulation to the injury area in your back and speed up healing significantly.
Infrared Heat Therapy using an infrared heating pad, which emits deep-penetrating IR rays up to 3 cm inside your tissues, can relieve your pain without pills for more than 6 hours post-treatment.
I have the BioMat at home, which is my own personal in-house doctor, and I use it all the time:
See the 4 BEST infrared heating pads for back pain.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Youre unable to stand or walk.
- You have a temperature over 101.0°F
- You have frequent, painful, or bloody urination.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You have a sharp, stabbing pain.
- Your pain is constant.
- You have pain or numbness in your leg.
- You feel pain in a new area of your back.
- You notice that the pain isnt decreasing after more than a week.
Contact your healthcare provider immediately for the following:
- Pain radiating down the leg
- Pain that is accompanied by fever, weakness in the leg, or loss of control of the bladder or bowels
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Back Pain Treatment Aims
PHASE I Pain Relief & Protection
Managing your back pain is why you seek treatment for low back pain. In truth, it was the final symptom that you developed and should be the first symptom to improve.
Your physiotherapist will use various treatment tools to protect your back and reduce your pain and inflammation. These include ice, electrotherapy, e.g. tens, acupuncture, taping techniques, soft tissue massage, back braces. Your doctor may also recommend a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
PHASE II Restoring Normal ROM, Strength
As your back pain and inflammation settle, your physiotherapist will turn their attention to restoring your normal back motion. They will also assess your muscle lengths and resting muscle tension, muscle strength and endurance, proprioception, balance and gait .
Your physiotherapist will commence you on a lower back core stability program to facilitate your important muscles that dynamically control and stabilise your low back and pelvis. Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle recruitment pattern and prescribe the best exercises for you, specific to your needs.
PHASE III Restoring Full Function
Your physiotherapist will tailor your rehabilitation to help you achieve your own functional goals.
PHASE IV Preventing a Back Pain Recurrence
Massage Your Lower Back
Massaging by gently stroking or kneading your lower back can help promote blood flow, relax your sore muscles, relieve stiffness,5 and spur the release of endorphinsyour bodys natural pain-fighting hormone.
If youre unable to visit a massage therapist, physical therapist, or other qualified health professional, try a DIY massage by securing two tennis balls with duct tape and placing them between your chair and lower back. Gently move your back from side-to-side to enable kneading of the sore muscles as they come in contact with the secured tennis balls.
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How Can You Prevent Recurring Back Pain
If you have suffered back pain in the past, you are unfortunately more likely to suffer in the future and worsening bouts. The most common cause of recurrent back pain is insufficient rehabilitation.
Follow the advice of your physiotherapist, who will establish a treatment plan to help you achieve your short-term goals and help prevent a recurrence.
While there are no guarantees, it is well known that active individuals who exercise and adopt safe lifting and postures at home and work are at a reduced risk of developing low back pain.
Discuss with your physiotherapist the specific postures and activities that you perform daily. They will help you understand how to position yourself and move with the lowest risk of injury based on your injury type and potential weaknesses.
Muscle Strain Or Sprain
A muscle strain or sprain is the most common cause of low back pain.
A strain is a tear or stretching in a tendon or muscle, while a sprain is a tear or stretching in a ligament.
Sprains and strains usually happen when you twist or lift something improperly, lift something heavy, or overstretch your back muscles.
These injuries can cause swelling, difficulty moving, and back spasms.
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Strengthen Your Back Muscles To Prevent Future Injuries
The second step to recovery for your pulled back include exercises to help strengthen your back, abdomen, and shoulders. You may be already aware of the benefits of exercising to strengthen your back such as loosening up your ligaments and tendons, preventing you from future injuries, repairing your muscles, and helping support your spine. The list could go on and on but you get the point. If youve sprained your back, strengthening your abdomen, shoulders, and back are all important as these components are what help support your 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.
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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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.
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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Causes Of Pulled Torn Or Strained Muscle In Back
Unfortunately, all of us at some point in our lives will suffer from some degree of upper back pain, middle back pain, or lower back pain. In fact, according to a report published in 2014, lower back pain is the number one cause of lost days at work. The report described back pain as a major health condition that affects about 10% of people and is a leading cause of disability worldwide.4
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
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Pinched Nerve Or Pulled Muscle: 2 Easy Ways To Find Out
How do you know if you have a pinched nerve or a pulled muscle?
Can a muscle strain cause nerve damage?
And how to treat both of these conditions at home?
Finding the cause of your back pain without a physicians examination is difficult.
However, this guide will reveal 2 simple ways to determine if your back pain is caused by a pinched nerve or a pulled muscle. And how to heal both naturally and quickly.
Your Pain Becomes Worse With Certain Movements
Pulled muscle pain will usually be more intense within the first few hours of sustaining this type of injury. You may also notice pain that gets worse with certain movements. For instance, discomfort may suddenly worsen if you bend, get up from a seated position to a standing position, or even with certain sleeping positions.
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Take A Natural Muscle Relaxant
Muscle relaxants can be effective in relieving muscle pain by decreasing spasms. Effective natural muscle relaxants include extracts of:
- Tart cherry
Valerian and chamomile also help promote good sleep, so its a good idea to use them before bedtime. Many of these natural options have powerful anti-inflammatory and healing properties as well, so taking them provides additional benefits.6 Supplements of magnesium may also help relieve muscle spasms.
Natural muscle relaxants are typically safe and commonly consumed in the form of supplements or tea. If you opt for prescription muscle relaxants, such as baclofen, benzodiazepines, cyclobenzaprine, or carisoprodol, they have a potential for substantial side effects, risks, and a possibility for misuse or abuse.
How Are Back Injuries Treated
Your doctor will examine you to check whether the nerves from your spinal cord are working properly. Make sure you tell them if you have any problems with going to the toilet.
Most minor back injuries get better by themselves within 6 weeks. Usually you will not need any other tests or treatment. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists recommends that an x-ray for low back pain is only needed if you have other significant symptoms such as problems with bladder and bowel control, severe pain or weakness or numbness in one or both legs. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
The most important thing you can do is to continue to stay active. A common myth is that bed rest will cure back pain. In fact, bed rest slows down the recovery period and can add to your pain.
You can help ease injuries to your back by:
- using cold compresses for 20 minutes at a time every 3 to 4 hours for the first day these will ease pain and swelling
- using warmth after the first day showers, baths or hot moist towels can help ease pain and help recovery
- avoiding activities involving bending, lifting and twisting until you feel better
Depending on your job, you may need time off work to allow your back to heal.
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Use Cold First Then Switch To Heat Therapy
During the initial few days after the strain injury, your muscle tissues begin to repair. The healing process causes inflammation to occur within the healing muscle fibers. The use of cold and heat therapy can help reduce inflammation in the following ways:
- Cold therapy is surprisingly effective in reducing pain, muscle spasm, swelling, and inflammation.1,3,4 An ice pack, ice cubes wrapped in a towel, or a bag of frozen vegetables can be used to cool down your muscle fibers.
It is best to use cold therapy during the initial day or two after your injury followed by heat therapy. Avoid using cold therapy for too long, because excessive cooling may slow down the natural healing process of the muscle tissue.1,3,4
It is important to use heat and cold as tolerated, intermittently for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and with a 2-hour break in betweento avoid skin and/or nerve damage. Heat therapy can be used for longer, provided the heat is a low-level, such as with a commercial heat wrap.