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Lower Back Strain and Sprain

sciatic nerve pain relief

Lower Back Strain and Sprain – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments


Lumbar (lower back) muscle strains and sprains are the most common causes of low back pain.


Pulled Back Muscle and Lower Back Strain is an injury to either a muscle or tendon. Tendons are the tough, fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. With a lower back strain, the muscles and tendons that support the spine are twisted, pulled, or torn. But what is a back sprain? – A back sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament. Spinal ligaments are bands of tough connective tissue that connect spinal bones together.


Twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon can result in a strain. It can also be caused by a single instance of improper lifting or by overstressing the back muscles. A chronic strain usually results from overuse involving prolonged, repetitive movement of the muscles and tendons.


The most common symptoms of a lower back strain or sprain are:

  • The patient will have lower back pain and spasming, and these symptoms will increase with motion.
  • Decreased function and/or range of motion of the joint (difficulty walking, bending forward or sideways, or standing straight)
  • Symptoms of pulled back muscles include back pain and muscle weakness and sometimes back muscle spasms. The back pain may be sudden, but usually comes on gradually.


When the lumbar spine is strained or sprained, inflammation of the soft-tissues results. This inflammation causes pain and can cause muscle spasm. People are often surprised at how painful and debilitating a lumbar strain or sprain can be. These are not small injuries. They often force patients to remain in bed for a day or two and can cause intermittent symptoms for weeks. That said, over 90% of patients are completely recovered from an episode of lumbar muscle strain or sprain within one month.


Since some symptoms of lower back strain are like those of more serious conditions, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. Any numbness and weakness in your legs, or bowel and bladder problems, can be a sign of nerve damage — and that needs immediate medical attention.


Healing time depends on the severity of the strain. Mild muscle strains usually heal within two weeks. Moderate muscle strains may take six to eight weeks to heal.

Most cases of a pulled back muscle are treated using standard self-care or non-invasive treatments. Bed rest will delay recovery. But you could restrain injured muscles by rushing into an exercise program before healing has taken place. Maintain daily activities. Gentle stretching exercises for the back-increase circulation to the muscles to speed healing, relieve tight muscles and help increase mobility.


A lower back strain therapy may include pelvic traction, gentle massage, ice and heat therapy, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation and stretching exercises. As an safe, but effective traction option we recommend to try Detensor spinal traction therapy.

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