A pulled muscle, irrespective of location, is just another term to describe muscle strain. Muscles pull or strain results when a muscle fiber or an entire group of muscles are stretched beyond their elastic limit. This leads to some levels of muscle tear. This damage varies from small muscle fiber tear to massive ripping off a whole muscle mass. The treatment of muscle strain is fundamentally the same with little or no difference regardless of its location. A pulled back muscle will get similar treatment with a tear in the muscle of the leg.
Causes of a pulled back muscle
Pulled back muscle results from a particular sudden movement that mounts unnecessary pressure on the ligaments and muscles of Lower back.
Common causes of a pulled back muscle are:
– Reaching or lifting from a position of mechanical disadvantage.
– Lifting objects heavier than the person’s strength can carry.
– Lifting an object while in a bad or twisted posture.
– Twisting and lifting at the same time.
– Lifting an object when the body is inadequately prepared.
– Lifting or working even when the body is severely fatigued.
– Sports, like bowling and golfing that requires a considerable amount of low back twisting.
Symptoms of Pulled Back Muscle
Symptoms can range from a light ache to sudden and severe pain. Primary symptoms of a pulled back muscle include a combination of two or more of the following:
Pain that is usually localized in the lower back
Tenderness in the lower back
Pain that usually comes suddenly
Pain that may be accompanied by muscle spasms
The patient finds it difficult walking or standing but usually feels better when at rest.
Severe back pain that quickly resolves but leaves intermittent low-grade pain that may continue for few months.
Who’s Most at Risk?
These are certain conditions that predispose a person to develop a pulled back muscle and back pain:
Being overweight or obese
Pregnancy – the additional weight gained during the period of gestation places an extra strain on the back
Long-term use of medications like contortionists which are known to weaken bones
Being depressed or under stress.
Pulled Back Muscle Treatment
The large muscles of the lower back are highly supplied with blood vessels which provide them with the essential nutrient and oxygen for a proper healing process. Hence, pulled back muscle typically heals within four weeks.
A patient may be asked to take not more than two days rest if his lower back pain becomes severe.
Some common first line treatments of a pulled back muscle are:
Painkillers like paracetamol to truncate pain sensation transmission to the brain.
Anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or diclofenac to relieve the swelling caused by pain.
Muscle relaxants are prescribed to treat muscle spasm that is associated with severe lower back pain.
Massage therapy is done to enhance blood supply to the lower back for healing to take place. Massage also promotes the release of natural painkillers called endogenous morphine. Stiff or tight lower back muscles can also be loosened by massage.
Chiropractic. This is a tender manual manipulation done to relax thigh muscles and promote blood supply and healing process.
Ice or cold packs. Applying cold water bottle to the affected parts can assist in relieving swelling within 24hours of the injury.
Heat therapy. Placing hot water bottle to the affected area after 48 hours of the injury promotes blood supply to the area and drainage of fluid away from the part. This enhances healing and reduces swelling of the part.
Rest. After ice pack application, the next step is to rest the injured part to allow for healing.
Better back posture – when recuperating, always support your back muscles while lying down, sitting or standing. Ensure that your sofa, kitchen chair, car seat and desk chairs have the right support and cushion that is required. This is because proper support for the pelvis and lower back improves posture and relieves stress on the injured back muscle to help its recovery.
Back Exercises as Muscle Strain Treatments
As a general routine, being regularly active reduces the risk of back muscle strain. Stretch exercises work on the muscles of the lower back, hence, making them less likely to tear, strain or spasm.
The following are exercise program to treat pulled back muscle:
Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise
Stretching for Back Pain Relief
Back Strengthening Exercises