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A slight twinge in your back that goes away after a few days is typically nothing to worry about. However, if your pain is severe or long-lasting, you should contact a board-certified spinal specialist to evaluate your back injury and recommend the appropriate treatment.
There are a wide range of non- and minimally-invasive treatment options for spinal muscle strains. If conservative treatment fails to lead to a full recovery and cessation of pain, we can recommend more advanced techniques including surgery to repair damage to the tissues around the spine.
Spinal muscle strain can happen to anyone. For some, it is the result of a traumatic incident, after which lumbar pain makes its appearance. In other cases, damage can accumulate over time, and then the trigger event is something as simple as getting out of bed. Typically, spinal strain is linked to injuries from sudden impact or heavy lifting.
You may find you’ve strained your spinal muscles from picking up a heavy object straight from the ground with no precautions, getting something heavy off of a high shelf, or twisting your spine while lifting. Impact injuries could be a result from a car accident, a sporting incident, fall, or other jarring impact, causing an acute back muscle injury.
Symptoms of spinal muscle strain can vary depending on which muscles are damaged, how severe the injury is, and whether or not your discs or nerves are involved. Each individual may experience spinal pain differently, however, the symptoms of a pulled lower back muscle will typically include one or more of the following:
If you experience severe symptoms, you should seek the help of a qualified spine specialist sooner rather than later, as spine injuries can worsen quickly. Emergency care may be required if you lose bladder or bowel control, have severe abdominal pain, or are running a high fever.
Risk factors for lower back injury include things that are impossible to control, like aging, and things that can typically be at least partially controlled with lifestyle choices, like weight or muscle tone. Other risk factors, like the following, can be mitigated with proper care.
Preventing lumbar strain isn’t always possible, but you can take steps to reduce strain on your back and make lifestyle choices to support spinal health.
If you experience back injury resulting from a jarring impact, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. If your back starts hurting after a seemingly harmless event, like the day after a weekend activity or when you stand up from a seated position, you may want to try resting your back and alternating heat and ice before you become overly concerned. However, if the pain is severe or doesn’t subside after a few days, you should seek professional help.
At Citrus Spine Institute, we evaluate each patient carefully and build a strained back treatment plan tailored for their specific needs. Potential aspects of your treatment may include the use of anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, bracing, muscle relaxants, spinal injections, or surgery. We'll also help you find ways to prevent future injuries with activity and lifestyle modifications including dietary changes and targeted workout routines such as core strengthening and flexibility exercises.
As you recover from a spinal muscle strain, make sure you follow your doctor’s directions carefully. A common mistake in recovery is overdoing exercise too soon, which can result in an injury even more severe than the initial lumbar strain.
You may also want to investigate supplemental forms of spine treatment to quicken and support your recovery. Many people have success with alternative therapies such as chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, and deep tissue massages.
If you are suffering from chronic lower back pain or muscle spasms, don’t ignore the pain. Your body is trying to tell you something is wrong, and that it needs help to heal. Proper back strain care can help eliminate pain, restore functionality to your spine, and improve your quality of life.