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What To Do If You Hurt Your Lower Back

Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer

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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.

Causes And Diagnosis Of A Pulled Back Muscle

Trauma, stress, and tension may all cause strains and sprains. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Falling, especially if you hit the ground hard or fall in an awkward position.
  • Repetitive movements that stress and irritate the back muscles.
  • Unsafe lifting, lifting while twisting, or lifting a very heavy object. Parents sometimes injure their backs throwing or playing with children.
  • Excess weight that puts excess strain on back muscles. People who are overweight, people who suddenly gain weight, and pregnant women are more vulnerable to pulled muscles.
  • A sedentary lifestyle. This may weaken the back, increasing the risk of injuries.
  • Poor posture when sitting or bad form when doing athletic activities.

A medical professional may suspect a strain or sprain based on symptoms and your medical history. If another injury, such as a broken bone or herniated disc, is possible, the provider may do other tests, such as an x-ray or MRI scan.3

Arthritis Of The Spine

Arthritis of the spine the slow degeneration of the spinal joints is the most frequent cause of lower back pain. All of us experience wear and tear as we age, and it is normal for your lower back to start acting up as you get older. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The inflammation and the thinning of cartilage increase friction in the joints, which may cause pain in the lower back.

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What Cause Lower Back Pain In Females

Posture. Another common cause of lower back pain in women is poor posture. Poor posture puts unnecessary strain on the spine and muscles in the back, which can lead to pain and discomfort. Women are especially susceptible to poor posture due to factors such as wearing high heels or carrying heavy purses.

Why Is My Lower Back Pain Not Going Away

Lower Back Exercises: Ease Your Lower Back Pain

The causes of chronic back pain include arthritis of the spine. The narrowing of the spines canal may lead to nerve pain. Myofascial pain syndrome causes unexplained muscle pain and tenderness in the lower back. The most common symptoms are: Back pain that doesnt go away on its own.

It may be severe enough to cause you to miss work or school, or to make it difficult to get out of bed. You may feel tired, have pain in your legs or feet, and be unable to move your arms or legs. Pain thats worse when youre lying down or sitting up. This is called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome .

Its a condition in which your heart beats too fast or too slowly, causing your blood pressure to rise or fall, which can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded or have shortness of breath. If you have POTS, you may also have: Numbness or tingling of your hands, feet or arms.

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Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:

  • Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
  • Behavioral approaches include:
  • Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
  • Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation involves wearing a battery-powered device which places electrodes on the skin over the painful area that generate electrical impulses designed to block or modify the perception of pain
  • Physical therapy programs to strengthen core muscle groups that support the low back, improve mobility and flexibility, and promote proper positioning and posture are often used in combination with other interventions
  • Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.

    How Is Lumbar Strain Treated

    Specific treatment for a lumbar strain will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider based on:

    • Your age, overall health, and medical history
    • Extent of the injury
    • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, and therapies
    • Expectation for the course of the injury
    • Your opinion or preference
    • Ice packs and/or heat and compression applied to the back
    • Stretching and strengthening exercises
    • Education regarding the use and wearing of appropriate protective equipment

    Medicines, such as anti-inflammatories and spinal injections, may also be used to relieve pain and inflammation.

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    Where Can I Get More Information

    For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:

    Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892

    NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.

    All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

    Stop Lifting Heavy Things

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    heshphoto / Getty Images

    One of the top causes of low back pain is frequent heavy lifting. If your job requires that you lift heavy items, ask your employer if special equipment is available to help ease the load on your lower back.

    This goes hand-in-hand with the next back pain no-norepetitive bending.

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    How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed

    Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, tests for low back pain may include:

  • X-ray. This test uses electromagnetic energy beams to make images of bones onto film.
  • CT scan. This imaging test uses X-rays and computer technology to make detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  • MRI. This test uses large magnets and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures in the body.
  • Radionuclide bone scan. This imaging technique uses a very small amount of radioactive material that is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.
  • Electromyogram . This test checks nerve and muscle function.
  • Lower Back Pain: What Could It Be

    Do you have lower back pain? You are not alone. Anyone can experience lower back pain at any time, even if you dont have a prior injury or any of the risk factors. It is not always serious and can often get better on its own. But in some cases pain is your bodys way of telling you that something isnt right.

    Learn more about lower back pain and what causes it from rehabilitation physician Akhil Chhatre, M.D., who specializes in back pain in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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    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.

    Is It A Pinched Nerve Or Pulled Muscle In The Lower Back

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    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.

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    How Do You Throw Your Back Out

    Throwing out your back generally means you have temporarily pulled or sprained a muscle in your back, often in the lumbar region. There are numerous ways in which you can throw your back out, including:

    • Twisting your back
    • Lack of proper back support for long periods of time
    • Bodily stress or impact from sports

    Muscle sprains are the primary cause of the pain of a thrown-out back. Discomfort can also occur when other structural parts of the back are damaged, such as blood vessels, ligaments and tendons.

    Seeking Treatment When You Throw Your Back Out

    Back injuries can be seriously crippling in the moment, but they do not have to be worrisome if you take the right steps to resolve them. If you throw out your back, be patient the recovery process and dont hesitate to reach out for medical attention. Contact the orthopaedic spine specialists at Cary Orthopaedics for a appointment in Cary, Holly Springs or Morrisville.

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    Low Back Pain Diagnosis

    Getting diagnosed with a specific cause of low back pain is the first step to getting treatment. If you land in your doctors office hoping for back pain relief, theyll use a variety of diagnostic tools and methods, such as:

    • A thorough medical history including any recent injuries, other diagnoses, family history of disease, and your job, activities and other lifestyle considerations

    • Physical exams, which may include manipulating the painful area or reflex or other neurological tests

    • Electromyography, which measures muscle and nerve function

    • ImagingX-rays can show bone spurs and damage to bone, while CT scans and MRIs can depict damage to soft tissue like discs or ligaments

    Types Of Back Pain After A Fall

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    Nearly 22,000 people visit the ER every day after having a bad fall, and those falls can create several different types of injuries:

    • Sprains & Strains Occur when ligaments and tendons are stretched or torn from an impact, bone displacement, or tissue tear
    • Tailbone Injuries Occur when direct impact from a fall causes pain, inflammation, or tenderness at the bottom of the spine
    • Discogenic Pain Occurs when an abrupt landing fractures, herniates, or dislocates the vertebrae and/or discs in the spine
    • Spinal CordInjuries Occur when the abrupt trauma is so powerful that it impacts the spinal cord, causing potentially permanent damage

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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.

    See Lower Back Pain Symptoms

    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.

    Whats 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 â 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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    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.

    Answers To Common Back Pain Questions

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    More than eight in 10 people will experience upper, mid, or low back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the most common back pain. In most cases, the pain goes away over time. If your back pain is severe or does not improve, you may need medical care. Here are answers to some common questions about back pain and tips on when to seek help.

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    How Tria Neck And Back Strengthening Program Helps You Heal Your Back Pain

    What many people dont realize about chronic back pain is that it can often be solved without surgery. Yes, sometimes surgery is the suggestion but only after non-surgical options have stopped working.

    At TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program our spine strengthening program focuses on active physical therapy which focuses on movement-based activities. This is a proven method for healing chronic back pain just ask any of the 200,000-plus patients weve worked with over the past 30 years.

    Through this program, youll do an intake with a doctor or physical therapist who specializes in spine care and chronic pain. Theyll work with you to determine the best pain management treatment plan. Then youll work one-on-one with a physical therapist.

    Most programs are six to 12 weeks long, and your therapy happens at one of our facilities that features state-of-the-art medical exercise equipment. As part of your care, youll learn about what chronic pain is and how the brain processes it.

    Youll also focus on body mechanics such as proper lifting, standing and sleeping all the things that can contribute to back pain but you probably dont think about. And as you progress, youll learn how to continually improve and maintain your back strength on you own so you can keep back pain at bay long-term.

    Want to learn more about TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program? Watch this short video.

    What Will Urgent Care Do For Lower Back Pain

    You can go to a walk-in clinic for back pain if you cant see your primary care doctor. If youre having trouble sleeping, you may want to talk to your doctor about sleeping pills. Sleeping pills can help you fall asleep faster, but they can also cause side effects like drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness. If you have any of these problems, its a good idea to see a doctor right away.

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