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What To Do When You Hurt Your Lower Back

Iii Apply A Cold Pack

How to Fix Your Lower Back Pain for Good

For the first 48-72 hours, carefully apply a cold pack to the area to reduce any inflammation present. Protect the skin from any risk of ice burn with a thin towel before applying the pack. Apply for 20 minutes and use every 1-2 hours as needed.

Caution:Not everyone benefits from a cold pack. If you find applying cold only numbs your pain while you are still stiff, then either reduce the length of time you apply it, or avoid cold treatment. Some people are more likely to feel even stiffer with cold treatment. The goal is to relax the muscle, not shock it.

I recommend that you go with what works for you. Personally, I prefer heat instead, but everyone has their own preferences.

Treating A Pulled Back Muscle In 8 Steps

No matter where a pulled muscle is in the body, the steps to treat it are generally the same. However, its important to talk to a medical professional before treating an injury because symptoms of other injuries, such as disc problems or a broken bone, may resemble strains and sprains. After talking to a professional, try the following steps:3

  • Apply cold. Cold helps reduce inflammation, which is the primary source of pain in the first few days. The faster you can apply cold to a pulled back muscle, the faster you may reduce pain, help control swelling, and start the healing process. Apply a cold pack for 15-20 minutes as soon as the injury occurs. Take a break of at least 20 minutes between each cold application.

  • Use compression. Applying compression bandages or using an active compression system may help reduce swelling and edema so the damaged tissues can repair themselves more quickly.

  • Rest. Right after a muscle strain, it is important to limit your activity level and avoid movements that increase pain. After the initial pain subsides, returning to previous level of activity may help prevent the muscles from growing weak.

  • Stretch. According to Kojo Hamilton, MD, as you return to activity, gentle stretching exercises may improve tissue healing by bringing more blood flow to the injured area. Applying heat to the area prior to stretching may also be beneficial. Ask a doctor about the right stretches for your condition.

  • Sensations That Might Indicate A Medical Emergency

    1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.2. Radiating pain: This pain “moves” or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.

    3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.

    If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage.

    Related reading: Get help for back, neck, and leg pain caused by spinal stenosis

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    Tips For Dealing With Lower Back Pain

    By Robert Greenleaf, MD, Spine Surgeon

    Lower back pain is extremely common and one of the top reasons for missed workdays. Thats because the lower back supports the weight of the upper body and is subject to a lot of stress and strainespecially during everyday movements like lifting and twisting.

    One of two things typically causes lower back pain: a sudden injury or the wear and tear of aging, arthritis and physical activity. No matter the cause of your lower back pain, here are 10 recommendations that can help you relieve it and prevent future problems.

    What Causes Lower Back Pain

    What Happens If You Leave Your Back Pain Untreated ...

    Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:

    • Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
    • Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
    • Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
    • Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
    • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
    • Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
    • Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.

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    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.

    Areas Of Imbalance And Risk Of Injury

    Key areas of imbalance, are the: lower back muscles , abdominals , hip muscles and the hamstrings .

    If you can imagine that the muscles from behind you are tightening while those in front are extending, then you can visualize the lumbar discs and facet joints being pinched, causing a bulge out in front. You can develop an anterior pelvic tilt which is worsened by excess weight.

    When this occurs over an extended period, the facet joints become worn and inflamed leading the facet joint inflammation, wear, and discomfort.

    Chronic imbalance also leads to advanced disc degeneration, especially to the L5-S1 disc. The L5-S1 is the most important yet abused disc, crucial for your lumbar flexibility and protection.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain

    Symptoms of lower back pain can come on suddenly or appear gradually. Sometimes, pain occurs after a specific event, such as bending to pick something up. Other times, you may not know what caused the pain.

    Pain may be sharp or dull and achy, and it may radiate to your bottom or down the back of your legs . If you strain your back during an activity, you may hear a pop when it happened. Pain is often worse in certain positions and gets better when you lie down.

    Other symptoms of lower back pain include:

    • Stiffness: It may be tough to move or straighten your back. Getting up from a seated position may take a while, and you might feel like you need to walk or stretch to loosen up. You may notice decreased range of motion.
    • Posture problems: Many people with back pain find it hard to stand up straight. You may stand crooked or bent, with your torso off to the side rather than aligned with your spine. Your lower back may look flat instead of curved.
    • Muscle spasms: After a strain, muscles in the lower back can spasm or contract uncontrollably. Muscle spasms can cause extreme pain and make it difficult or impossible to stand, walk or move.

    Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults

    My Lower Back Hurts: 3 Things You Can Do To Help Prevent Back Pain (Part 1)

    We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.

    • Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
    • Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
    • Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
    • We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.

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    Know Your Otc Medications

    Nonprescription pain relievers can help with muscle aches and stiffness. The two main types of over-the-counter options are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

    True to their name, NSAIDs help lower inflammation that can lead to swelling and tenderness. But acetaminophen does not relieve inflammation. You can reach for either type of pain reliever for occasional back pain. NSAIDs may work a bit better, Hemani says, if you have arthritis of the spine or other inflammatory conditions.

    First Aid For Intense Pain From A Pulled Lower Back Muscle

    A pulled muscle in your lower back can send intense flareups of pain, spasm, and stiffness, causing many people to end up in the emergency room. When this injury happens, its smart to know what you can do to immediately and effectively bring down the pain to a tolerable level while also helping your body heal.

    Pulling a lower back muscle can lead to muscle spasms. SeeLower Back Strain Video

    As a general guideline, rest during the initial day or two after your injury, moving slowly and gently to allow your muscle tissue to recover and begin the regeneration process. You may use a back brace intermittently for additional stability.1,2

    Below you will find effective treatments that you can employ at home to soothe your muscle soreness.

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    The Most Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain Are A Strain Or Sprain

    Whether you notice it or not, your lumbar spine gets put to work throughout the entire day.

    Amid all of this work and motion, a lower back sprain or strain can result from an acute injury, such as one experienced while falling, lifting something too heavy or playing sports. A sprain or strain can also develop over time due to repetitive movements or poor posture.

    “Straining a muscle or spraining a ligament are the most common causes of lower back pain,” says Dr. Palmer. “While they can be serious, these common causes of lower back pain aren’t long-lasting taking anywhere from a few days to heal or, at most, a few months.”

    Your doctor can help you determine the particular course of self-care that can help heal your lower back pain.

    “The treatment for a pulled back muscle or strained back ligament is fairly simple and can include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, ice to help reduce inflammation, heat to promote healing, and avoiding strenuous activity until the pain recedes,” explains Dr. Palmer. “The best course of care will depend on the severity of your injury as well as your overall core and lower body strength.”

    If your lower back pain persists despite treatment, it may be time to consider other causes of lower back pain.

    What Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain Actually Work

    So, You Hurt Your Lower Back  Steven Low

    Unless youve had a major injury, such as a fall or car accident, you probably dont need to rush to the doctor for back pain. You may want to try these simple self-care strategies first.

    Avoid bed rest. When lower back pain strikes, people often think complete rest will relieve back pain. However, a review of many clinical studies found that patients who retreated to bed actually experienced more pain and recovered more slowly than patients who stayed fairly active

    Use ice and/or heat. Many people find that using ice or cold packs for periods of up to 20 minutes at a time helps reduce pain and swelling. Always wrap ice or a cold pack in a thin towel before putting it on your body so you dont injure your skin. You may also find that heat, such as a heating pad or warm bath, eases pain. Ice is recommended in the first 48 hours after injury then you can try a combo of ice and heat.

    Try over-the-counter remedies. Short-term use of OTC pain relievers, such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen, may ease your lower back pain. Also consider OTC creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin. They stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain.

    Read Also: Back Pain Cleveland Clinic

    Exercises To Correct Imbalances Associated With Standing To Prevent Injury For Relief

    It is vital to correct any muscle imbalances in these muscles groups to bring much-needed protection and relief to the lumbar spine. Even when, there already is significant injury such as disc wear and facet joint inflammation, it can still be reduced dramatically, long term when you recondition and exercise these areas properly and effectively.

    These groups each require specific exercises and stretches unique to what you need. Learn more about the exercises involved for relief. Follow this exercise to help you.

    If you are ready for a comprehensive system that teaches you exactly what movements and corrections to use, scroll below.

    You will be trained to perform many exercises, but the effort will be well worth it.

    Achieving relief is not a quick fix, and this program does not rely on such methods.

    IN USING THE PROGRAM, I NOTICE THAT BONES AND MUSCLES ARE LOOSENING UP AND IM LESS TENSE. I CAN DO THE EXERCISES ANYWHERE I WANT WITH THE TIPS GIVEN IN THE EBOOK.

    I have been able to walk better and be able to bend over without much pain. This book is really recommended, and I thank this author for what he has done to help people, such as myself, achieve great back health.

    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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    When Should I See My Doctor

    Apart from the signs of a serious back injury, you should see your doctor if:

    • your problems have not improved at all within a few days
    • your problems have not improved completely within 6 weeks

    Your doctor may be able to help you manage any pain and may refer you for physiotherapy or other investigations.

    Inflammation And Muscle Spasm

    Why Your Back Hurts When You Plank And How To Take Care Of It

    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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