What is a low back strain?
Your back consists of a series of ligaments and muscles, holding the bones of your spinal column in place. A low back strain occurs when these ligaments are stretched out too far, causing tiny tears in the back tissues. Consequently, the muscles become weaker and may not be able to hold the spinal bones correctly. Your spine may become less stable, causing low back pain. As well as this, low back strain can also cause pain in other body areas because it may also damage the nerves from the spinal cord throughout your body. This article is a detailed account of the back muscles strain, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment plans. As well as this, you can get possible preventive measures, helping reduce the chances of back muscle strains. However, wearing the back support braces is the primary preventive measure to reduce the risk of injuries.
Causes of low back strain
There are several causes causing low back strain. However, experts revealed that the following are the common causes or risk factors contributing to the development of low back strain:
- Sudden impacts: Sudden impacts resulting from jarring motions can put heavy or immediate stress on the lower back muscles. For example, some high-contact sports, such as football, can place excessive pressure on the muscles and joints. As well as this, a sudden impact resulting from a road accident or falling is another contributor or cause to develop a low back strain.
- Lifting heavy weight: Lifting heavy weight when you are not in proper shape can also strain your lower back. As well as this, lifting too much weight too quickly and poor posture are other common causes of developing low back strain.
- Overuse or repetitive motion: Overuse and repetitive movements can also put extra pressure or stress on the lower back, causing back muscle strain. Several sports, including football, baseball, basketball, and golf, require repetitive back movements. Besides this, running, cycling, swimming, and weightlifting may also require repetitive movements, causing low back strain.
- Poor posture: Your lower back is more susceptible to injury if you have weak abdominal and lower back muscles.
- Taking on the new activity: Starting a new activity may require new techniques and movements to follow. These actions can greatly put excessive stress on your back, causing back muscle strain. However, experts suggest starting a new activity under the guidance of your professional trainers to get a safe practice experience.
Symptoms of low back strain
The low back strain usually results in lower back pain. However, you may also feel further symptoms, depending upon your condition. The following are the common symptoms reported from the low back strain:
- Dull and achy low back pain: After straining, the lower back muscles may become tight, sore, and achy. The pain may also make you feel tingling or hot.
- Intensified pain when moving: After straining your back, some specific movements may worsen the low back pain, especially in the affected muscles. For example, you may feel intense pain when getting up from a seated position. As well as this, bending forward and getting out of bed may also make you feel intense pain in the lower back.
- A localised pain in the lower back: A back strain may make you feel a concentrated pain in the lower back. As the muscles in the buttocks or hips help support the lower back, pain may also be felt in these areas.
- Stiffness and difficulty walking: Low back strain may also result in stiffness, making it difficult to shift position, bend, walk, or stand for an extended period.
- Tenderness and inflammation: The strained back muscles may become inflamed and feel tender when touching. As well as this, muscle cramps and spasms may cause intense pain and temporarily limit mobility.
Possible treatment plans for low back strain
Low back strain is a painful as well as depressing injury to some extent. However, the injury may heal on its own, but it takes some time to heal properly. Experts suggest the following treatments to help speed up recovery. These treatment plans are effective in reducing pain and other symptoms resulting from a back muscles strain:
- Take proper rest: It is better to provide your back with the proper rest. Resting your back helps control further damage. Ensure that you stop all the unnecessary movements that can worsen your pain.
- Apply ice: Ice massage helps reduce pain and swelling. It is advised to apply ice for 20 – 30 minutes after every 2 -3 hours. Follow this practice for 2 – 3 days after injury.
- Provide heat: It is also suggested to apply heat to the injured area once the initial swelling goes down. A hot water bottle and electric heating pad are recommended for better heat.
- Take medicine: If your GP or healthcare professional recommends, you can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, to help with swelling and lower back pain. However, these drugs may have side effects. So, you have to take it under the instruction of your healthcare professional.
- Wear back support braces: Wearing back support braces is an effective tool that helps manage back problems in a variety of ways. For example, wearing adjustable back support for lumbar support helps minimise unnecessary movements and controlling further damage. As well as this, it helps reduce pain and other discomforts.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy helps build up strength and speed up recovery.
How can you prevent low back strain?
Experts suggest the following preventive measures to reduce the chances of back muscle strain and other problems:
- Do not forget to warm your body before any sports or workout sessions.
- You must stop all activities whenever you feel pain and consult your healthcare advisors instead.
- Do not lift too much weight and bend at the knees when picking up something.
- Try to lose weight, as being overweight can put extra stress on your back.
- Wear back support braces when necessary
- Always maintain a good back posture, as working in bad shape can put you at a high risk of injuries.