Lumbar Strain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery, Prevention

Lumbar Strain– Low Back Pain is a condition which almost every individual faces in life at one time or the other, especially nowadays when there is added pressure at work and one needs to put in long hours at work. There are many factors which can lead to low back pain and one of them is Lumbar Strain.

Lumbar Strain

What Is Lumbar Strain?

In order to understand what is Lumbar Strain one needs to understand what is the low back made up of. The main part of the back is the spinal column, which is held in place by a battery of muscles and ligaments. When these muscles and ligaments get irritated or inflamed or at times even rupture due to overuse, the muscles then start to weaken up and are not able to hold the bones in the spinal column appropriately resulting in instability of the spine causing low back pain. This condition is termed as a Lumbar Strain.

What Are The Causes Of Lumbar Strain?

Causes of Lumbar Strain Include:

  • Excessive physical activity
  • Falls
  • Repeated bending and lifting which puts pressure on the back
  • Poor sitting posture
  • Obesity
  • Sitting for prolonged periods of time.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lumbar Strain?

Symptoms of Lumbar Strain Include:

  • Excruciating pain in the back
  • Stiffness in the back
  • Pain going to the buttocks and legs
  • Worsening back pain with bending, coughing, or sneezing.

How Is Lumbar Strain Diagnosed?

To diagnose Lumbar Strain, the treating physician will take a detailed history and conduct a thorough physical exam. He may also order radiologic studies in the form of x-rays, CT scan, or MRI of the back depending on the severity of the symptoms. CT or MRI may be ordered only if there is no resolution of pain with standard conservative treatments and underlying nerve damage is suspected by the physician.

What Are Treatments For Lumbar Strain?

What Are Treatments For Lumbar Strain?

Some of the Treatments Done for Lumbar Strain are:

  • Application of Ice: Applying ice packs for about 20-30 minutes two to three times a day to the back can help with pain relief and calming down inflammation. Applying ice to the back after a strenuous physical activity also is helpful.
  • Heat Application: Once an individual applies ice for a couple of days then he or she can start applying heat on the back for symptoms relief.
  • Medications: Pain medications or NSAIDs like ibuprofen or Aleve is helpful for pain relief. Muscle relaxants at times are also helpful.
  • Back Support: The physician at times may also prescribe a back support especially with heavy physical activity to protect the back from further damage
  • Physical Therapy: The physician may also refer the individual to a physical therapist for stretching and strengthening of the back muscles

Lumbar Strain Recovery Time

In most cases, lumbar strain heals by itself in few days to weeks depending on the severity with just conservative care like rest and heat and ice application. Patient should continue with activities as tolerated during this period. Over exertion or activities that put more pressure on back should be avoided.

Lumbar Strain Prevention Tips

In order to prevent Lumbar Strain, the following steps can be followed:

  • Stop any physical activity which causes low back pain
  • Do back stretches and exercises regularly to keep the back in good shape
  • One should avoid sleeping on the stomach
  • When bending to lift something heavy, try and bend at the knees and not the waist
  • Maintain ideal weight
  • Maintain good sitting posture.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 3, 2019

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