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What To Do If You Strain Your Lower Back

What Are The Signs Of A Back Injury

What To Do When You Strain Your Lower Back?

Signs you may have injured your back include:

  • pain or tenderness
  • pain that worsens with movement, coughing, sneezing or laughing
  • stiffness or difficulty moving
  • swelling
  • pain that radiates down one or both legs

However, back pain has many causes. It could be caused by a disease such as osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, your age, physical fitness, smoking, being overweight, or the type of work you do.

It is important to find out the cause of your symptoms so they can be treated properly.

Causes Of Strain In Lower Back Muscles

As one of the most common injuries among adults, lower back strain can occur due to a broad range of causes, including:

  • Sudden impact from a fall, collision, or athletic activity
  • Repetitive motion that causes stress on the muscles and joints
  • Lifting while twisting, or lifting an object that is too heavy
  • Poor posture or incorrect form when performing activities
  • Weak or imbalanced muscles in the back and abdominals
  • Excess weight that causes stress in lower back muscles

Lower back muscle strain is typically diagnosed by a medical professional after performing a physical examination and evaluating your history of injury. In cases of severe pain, other tests such as an x-ray or MRI might be performed to rule out other types of injuries.

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

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Back Muscle Strain When To See A Doctor

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, in most cases, you can treat pulled and strained back muscles at home. Home remedies help to improve the healing time and you should be pain-free quicker.

However, there are some conditions that require you to seek medical advice for your pulled upper back muscle or low back pain.17, 18 These are:

  • Tingling or numbness in your back, arms, or legs.
  • You suffer intense back pain after a severe trauma like a car accident or falling.
  • You notice weakness or pain in your legs.
  • You have signs of a fever.
  • You lose control of your bladder or bowels.
  • Severe back pain, especially low back pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night.

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Other Exercises For Strengthening Your Back

What To Do When You Strain Your Lower Back

You can also check my other exercises to improve your posture.

Low back pain can also be caused by your sciatic nerve. If you have pain in your lower back and pain down your left leg or right leg, then why not try some great yoga stretches to relieve sciatic pain, tennis ball massage therapy, and foam roller exercises for sciatic and back pain. All these exercises include video or detailed illustrations for easy implementation at home.

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Persistent Low Back Pain

Nonspecific low back pain is classed as chronic if it lasts for longer than six weeks. In some people it lasts for months, or even years. Symptoms may be constant. However, the more usual pattern is one in which symptoms follow an irregular course. That is, reasonably long periods of mild or moderate pain may be interrupted by bouts of more severe pain.

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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

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Causes Of Lower Back Spasms

Back spasms can be the result of injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the back, or they can be related to more serious medical conditions. Heavy lifting is a common cause of back spasms.

In addition to heavy lifting, any activity that puts excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments in the lower back can cause an injury. Sports such as football and golf can lead to back spasms because they demand that the back turn suddenly and repeatedly.

Your back muscles may be more vulnerable if you have weak abdominal muscles, which help support the back. Weak or stiff muscles in the back itself can be injured more easily than muscles that are stronger and more limber.

Back spasms may occur if you have arthritis or a ruptured disc in your spine. Arthritis in the lower back can put pressure on the spinal cord, which may cause pain in the back and the legs. A ruptured or bulging disc in the vertebrae may also pressure a nerve and result in back pain.

What Are The Most Common Lower Back Surgery Procedures

Lower Back Stretches For Lower Back Strain | Danette May

Spine surgery is not necessary for most people who have lower back pain. If you do need it, your doctor will recommend an appropriate procedure to address your specific symptoms and medical situation. Common spine surgeries include:

Spinal Fusion. Two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together to limit excess spinal motion. Your surgeon will use a combination of bone, bonelike material, screws, plates and rods to hold the vertebrae together so they can heal into a single unit. Spinal fusion may be done to correct spinal deformities or to increase the spines stability in severe cases of spinal osteoarthritis or herniated discs.

Laminectomy and laminotomy. Laminectomy is a surgery in which your surgeon removes the back portion of one or more vertebrae to create more space for the spinal cord or other nerves. In people with severe arthritis, bone spurs within the spinal canal can grow large enough to press on the spinal cord, causing pain and limiting mobility. In a similar surgery known as laminotomy, your surgeon will remove a small piece of bone called the lamina from the back of the vertebra.

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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.

When Should You See A Doctor

You should consider seeing a health care provider if your lower back pain does not resolve with simple measures or if it is prolonged, as this could mean that there might be a more serious underlying cause.

Most people find significant improvement in their lower back pain within a month of home care. Each sufferer, however, is unique, and lower back pain can be a difficult condition to deal with. Many people have acute and subacute types of lower back pain and about 20%² will develop chronic lower back pain with symptoms persisting for a year.

Seek treatment as soon as possible if you are experiencing lower back pain alongside any of the following symptoms:

Your doctor will help determine the probable reasons for your lower back pain and provide appropriate treatment recommendations.

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Who Can Get A Back Strain

Does your back hurt? You are not alone. Most people at one time or another will suffer from a slight back problem. In the United States, back pain is one of the most common medical problems.

Back injuries often occur during sports, tasks at work, or home projects. When the lower spine muscles become swollen and inflamed, this is known as a strain. A strain can lead to muscle spasms and pain. Though less complicated than a fracture, the healing process depends on the cause and treatment.

Over a lifetime, more than eighty percent of people will have low back pain. It is seen more commonly among people ages 40 to 80, and in women. Over 100 billion dollars are spent each year in the United States because of low back pain factoring in decreased wages and absence from work.

A few people are more likely to develop a back strain. Risk factors include a family history of back pain, long periods of sitting, lifting of heavy items, and diseases such as arthritis or osteoporosis.

How To Treat A Pulled Back Muscle In 8 Steps

How Do You Know If Your Low Back Injury Is Serious?

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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Should You Exercise Through Lower Back Pain

Posted on by OrthoNYin Back, News, Physical Therapy, Spine

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.

Whats The Difference Between A Strain And A Sprain

A strain happens when you injure either a muscle or a tendon. Your tendons are tough, fibrous tissues that connect your muscle to your bone.

When you are experiencing back strain, it means that you have twisted, pulled or torn the muscles or tendons that support your spine. If you stretch a muscle too much, you actually cause small tears in the muscle fibers.

A sprain, on the other hand, occurs when you stretch a ligament too far or tear it. Ligaments are the fibrous tissues that connect your bones at your joints.

Sprains and strains may not sound like serious injuries, but the back pain they cause can really hurt!

In fact, the pain can be so excruciating that some people are convinced theyve done something terrible to their back and that theyll need surgery.

The good news is you definitely wont need surgery. Pulled muscles in the back usually heal within days or weeks on their own.

Please note, if you have severe, constant pain that keeps you from sleeping, experience a loss of bladder or bowel control or have progressive lower extremity weakness, you may have a more serious injury to your lumbar spine and should be evaluated by a professional.

Although its possible to have a pulled muscle anywhere in your back, these strains and sprains most often occur in the lumbar region, or your lower back. One of the most common symptoms of a pulled back muscle islower left side back pain.

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Rest And Give It Time

  • 1Take it easy while your back recovers. Most back strains will eventually heal up on their own after a few weeks. Avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting and give your back the time it needs to heal up.XTrustworthy SourceJohns Hopkins MedicineOfficial resource database of the world-leading Johns Hopkins HospitalGo to source
  • Wait until youre completely pain-free to get back to your normal activities, especially working out or playing sports. You dont want to reinjure yourself or make the strain even worse.
  • How Can Low Back Strain Be Prevented

    How to Fix Lower Back Strain (DON’T STRETCH)
    • 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.
  • Warm up before you exercise. Do exercises that strengthen your back muscles. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
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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.

    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.

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    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.

    Simple pain relief, such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories, may help. You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or call healthdirect for advice on 1800 022 222.

    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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