How Are Back Sprains And Strains Diagnosed
Mild strains and sprains can usually be diagnosed based on a medical historyincluding a review of the symptoms and how the injury occurredand a physical examination by a healthcare provider. In cases of more severe strains and sprains, especially when there is weakness or loss of function, an X-ray may be taken to rule out a fractured or herniated disc as the cause of the back pain.
See Your Doctor If The Pain Is Persistent
How To Treat A Pulled Back Muscle In 8 Steps
A pulled back muscle can begin as a sudden, sharp pain when lifting or bending. Or it may appear gradually, getting progressively worse over several days. This common injury ranges from a minor inconvenience to an intense source of pain. It can take several weeks, and in some cases a few months, to heal.1
A pulled muscle is the common term for a strained muscle.2 A strain is a muscle or tendon injury that happens when the tissue stretches or tears. When a ligament stretches or tears, its called a sprain. Back pain, often due to a pulled muscle, is one of the most common issues health professionals treat.2 In most cases, you can manage and treat symptoms at home. But if the pain is unbearable or makes it difficult to move, see a doctor.
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% Of People Will Experience Back Pain At Some Time But There Are Ways To Find Relief
As people enter middle age, they are more likely to experience bouts of low back pain. In fact, according to the Harvard Special Health Report Men’s Health: Fifty and Forward, back pain affects about four in five Americans at some point in their lives and equally strikes men and women.
Age is often the culprit. Over time, the bones and joints in your lower back begin to change. Your discs tend to wear out and sometimes become fragmented. These structural alterations sometimes cause pain.
Another cause of low back pain, although it occurs less often, is a herniated disc. Sometimes, a disc pushes outside the space between the bones and compresses a nerve at the point where it branches off the spinal cord. When the sciatic nerve that leads into the buttocks and leg is affected, the pain is called sciatica.
Yet, most cases of low back pain stem from strain or sprain due to simple overuse, unaccustomed activity, excessive lifting, or an accident. In most cases the best move is to wait and see if the pain resolves on its own. If the pain does not improve after three to four days, then it’s time to see a doctor.
However, depending on the source of your back pain and its severity, you might try a few home remedies for low back pain to help ease the pain until your back returns to normal. Here are several options to consider:
Complementary therapies. Several types of complementary therapy may be helpful for relief from low back pain. These include:
How Can Low Back Strain Be Prevented
- Use correct body movements.
- Bend at the hips and knees when you pick up objects. Do not bend from the waist. Use your leg muscles as you lift the load. Do not use your back. Keep the object close to your chest as you lift it. Try not to twist or lift anything above your waist.
- Change your position often when you stand for long periods of time. Rest one foot on a small box or footrest, and then switch to the other foot often.
- Try not to sit for long periods of time. When you do, sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Never reach, pull, or push while you are sitting.
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How Are Back Strains And Sprains Treated
The treatment for strains and sprains is similar, and often takes place in two phases.
The goal of the first phase is to reduce the pain and spasm. This may involve rest, and the use of ice packs and compression , especially for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury. An over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen , may be recommended to help reduce pain and swelling.
After the first 24 to 48 hours, returning to normal activities, as tolerated, is advisable. Extended bed rest or immobility simply prolongs symptoms and delays recovery.
Most people with lumbar strain/sprain symptoms improve in about 2 weeks. If symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks, additional treatment may be required.
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
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How To Treat A Muscle Strain
The good news is that most back strains heal with time.
Healthcare providers recommend modified activity as the quickest way to get over a mild to moderate back strain. Your practitioner may advise you to avoid heavy lifting or activities like running for the first few days after your back strain.
If the pain lingers past 10 days or so, you should talk to your healthcare provider about it. If your back spasms make it difficult to move or exercise, your practitioner may recommend physical therapy and/or prescribe a muscle relaxant for you.
Muscle relaxers do not repair the injury, and they often cause sedation, which can interfere with your ability to drive and manage your day to day activities. But they may relax your muscles so you can stretch them and use them more effectively during physical therapy.
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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Diagnosis Of Lower Back Sprains Or Strains
A back sprain or strain can be diagnosed in a full physical exam with your primary care doctor.
Your doctor will take a full medical history and determine how the injury occurred, what the symptoms are and what makes the symptoms worse.
Diagnostic testing is not typically necessary unless the pain has persisted longer than two weeks and is not improving. If pain persists long-term, your provider may order an x-ray or MRI to rule out other possible conditions.
Try Doing Gentle Back Stretches
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Stretching And Exercising Your Lower Back
How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
- Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
- Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
- Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
- Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
- Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
- Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
- Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.
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Switch To Applying Heat After 3 Days
Pulled Back Muscle Symptoms
Muscle strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on how bad the injury is:
- Grade 1 injuries will have tightness in the back. The patient may be able to walk properly and will not have much swelling.
- Grade 2 back muscle strains will probably result in the patient being unable to walk properly. They may get occasional sudden twinges of pain during activity and may notice some swelling. Pressing in over the site of injury will be painful.
- Grade 3 injuries will result in the patient being unable to walk properly. They will be in severe pain and significant swelling will appear immediately. Contracting the back muscles will be painful and might produce a bulge in the muscle. The patient can expect to be out of competition for 3 to twelve weeks or more.
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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.
How Can Back Sprains And Strains Be Prevented
It is not possible to prevent all back injuries, but you can take some steps to help lower the risk of a sprain or strain:
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep your bones and muscles strong.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts added stress on the structures of the lower back.
- Exercise regularly, including stretching, to keep your joints flexible and your muscles in good condition.
- Practice safety measures to help prevent falls, such as wearing shoes that fit properly, and keeping stairs and walkways free of clutter.
- Use good body mechanics when sitting, standing and lifting. For example, try to keep your back straight and your shoulders back. When sitting, keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Dont over-reach, and avoid twisting movements. When lifting, bend your knees and use your strong leg muscles to help balance the load.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine interferes with blood flow to the muscles.
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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
What Structures Make Up The Back
The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.
Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.