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How Do I Know If I Pulled A Back Muscle
Pulling a lower back muscle, or any form of lower back strain, can cause a variety of symptoms, which are listed below. Low back discomfort that is dull and achy. Achy, painful, or tense muscles are common symptoms of muscular tension. Heat, tingling, or electric sensations are more often produced by an inflamed nerve root than they are by a torn muscle.
Whats The Difference Between A Strain And A Sprain
A strain happens when you injure either a muscle or a tendon. Your tendons are tough, fibrous tissues that connect your muscle to your bone.
When you are experiencing back strain, it means that you have twisted, pulled or torn the muscles or tendons that support your spine. If you stretch a muscle too much, you actually cause small tears in the muscle fibers.
A sprain, on the other hand, occurs when you stretch a ligament too far or tear it. Ligaments are the fibrous tissues that connect your bones at your joints.
Sprains and strains may not sound like serious injuries, but the back pain they cause can really hurt!
In fact, the pain can be so excruciating that some people are convinced theyve done something terrible to their back and that theyll need surgery.
The good news is you definitely wont need surgery. Pulled muscles in the back usually heal within days or weeks on their own.
Please note, if you have severe, constant pain that keeps you from sleeping, experience a loss of bladder or bowel control or have progressive lower extremity weakness, you may have a more serious injury to your lumbar spine and should be evaluated by a professional.
Although its possible to have a pulled muscle anywhere in your back, these strains and sprains most often occur in the lumbar region, or your lower back. One of the most common symptoms of a pulled back muscle islower left side back pain.
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Should I Stretch A Pulled Muscle
Should you stretch a muscle that has been strained or pulled? Resting your strained muscle, as previously said, is the most effective treatment for this condition. You would want to avoid straining the muscle for a few days to enable the acute damage to begin to heal, explains physical therapist Lewis.
What If It Still Doesnt Feel Better
You should def talk with your doc if your upper back pain is severe. Its also important to reach out if the pain is chronic
Let them know if home remedies just arent easing the pain. Your doc might suggest medications to soothe the pain or reduce back spasms. They also might recommend physical therapy or chiropractic care.
Some folks also get relief from alternative treatments like massage therapy, dry needle therapy, or acupuncture. Just be sure your doc says its OK first.
Theres plenty you can do to prevent future back attacks. Here are some tips:
- Practice proper posture.
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What Causes A Pulled Muscle In Your Back
You can end up with a pulled back muscle for any number of reasons. It could have happened suddenly from an injury. Or it may have developed gradually over time because of repetitive movements or overusesuch as lifting, exercising, or sitting hunched over for long periodsthat overstressed your back muscles.
Even poor posture can contribute to a pulled back muscle because slouching puts an added strain on the spine and the muscles that support it. Carrying excessive body weight is a culprit, too. Being overweight forces the back muscles to work harder than they should to support the extra load. Thats why people who are overweight or pregnant are more likely to have achy backs.
Other common causes of a pulled back muscle include:
- using poor technique when lifting a heavy object from the ground or lowering it from overhead especially if you twist while you do it.
- performing a forceful repetitive motion, such as that required by playing golf or other sports or perhaps swinging a hammer.
- failing to use good form while exercising.
- starting a new exercise routine, sport, or job activity that overworks a group of muscles that are not used to the force of the motion required.
- moving in any way that jars the muscles in the lower back, especially if you hit the ground hard or in an awkward position, such as movements that could occur in a fall or car accident.
- leading a sedentary lifestyle, which weakens back muscles.
How Are Back Sprains And Strains Diagnosed
Mild strains and sprains can usually be diagnosed based on a medical historyincluding a review of the symptoms and how the injury occurredand a physical examination by a healthcare provider. In cases of more severe strains and sprains, especially when there is weakness or loss of function, an X-ray may be taken to rule out a fractured or herniated disc as the cause of the back pain.
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Exercises To Prevent Pulling Or Straining Your Back Muscles:
Stand with your back against a wall and slowly lower yourself down to a sitting position. Hold this for 30 seconds then repeat.
Bridge Yoga Pose:
While laying on the ground, bend your knees and place your feet shoulder width apart on the ground. Slowly start lifting your back off of the ground at about a 45-degree angle. Hold this position for 20 seconds then repeat.
Lie on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Using your core muscles, slowly raise your shoulders off the floor. Hold this position for around 1-2 seconds then lower your shoulders back down. Try not to use your neck to hold your shoulders up but your ab muscles instead. Repeat this motion around 15 times.
Lie on the floor on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Push your shoulders off the floor using your hands and hold this position for 10 seconds. Then repeat.
Symptoms Of A Pulled Back Muscle
Symptoms of a pulled back muscle depend on where the injury is. The spine is divided into three major sections: the neck, upper back and shoulders, and lower back.
For a pulled muscle in the neck, you might experience:3
- Pain in the neck and upper back area
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain radiating to the shoulders or arms
Pulled muscles in the shoulders and upper back may cause:
- Pain in the area between the spine and shoulder blade
- Muscle spasms in the upper back
- Knots and tightness in the upper back and shoulders
- Pain when moving the shoulders
In lower back strain injuries, many people experience symptoms such as:3
- Aching and stiffness in lower back muscles
- Pain that worsens with movement
- Pain that radiates to the hips and legs
- Limited range of motion
- Muscle spasms in lower back area
- Pain when sitting, standing, or walking
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What Can I Do To Help The Pulled Muscle In My Low Back
A pulled muscle, no matter where it occurs, is just another name for a muscle strain. A muscle pull or strain occurs when all or an isolated portion of a muscle is stretched beyond its normal limits. This results in some degree of muscle tear, from a few micro-tears of muscle fibers to a massive ripping of an entire muscle . Regardless of the location of the muscle strain, treatment does not differ much a pulled back muscle should receive treatment that is fundamentally the same for a muscle tear in the leg or neck.
Pulled Muscle In Lower Back Recovery Time
You should limit normal activity for the first few days after your injury but resume it as soon as you can after that time. Wait a few weeks before going back to an exercise regimen or sport.
Most people will be fully recovered within two weeks of the injury, but if the pain isnt getting better after a weeks time, see a doctor.
There are several things you can do to prevent straining your lower back, some that help strengthen it and others that are precautionary. These include:
- stretching and strengthening exercises
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Strained Or Pulled Upper Back Muscles Can Happen Because Of:
- Improper posture
- Overuse of the back muscles
- Bad conditioning
- Not warming up enough before beginning strenuous exercise
- Sudden loss of motor control leading to strain, possibly due to muscle fatigue
- Heavyweight lifting
- Participating in strenuous exercises such as tennis, golf, and rowing, which can lead to chronic muscle strain due to repetitive movements.
What Does Low Back Strain Feel Like
Symptoms of low back strain include:
- Pain and stiffness in the back.
- Pain in the buttocks and the legs, often in the back of the thigh.
- Pain that worsens when bending, stretching, coughing, or sneezing.
Since some symptoms of low back strain are similar to 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.
To diagnose low back strain, your doctor will give you a thorough exam. You may also need X-rays, MRIs , and CT scans. These extra tests may only be needed if your pain doesn’t go away on its own or with conservative treatment.
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Back Muscle Strain Vs Pulled Back Muscle Vs Torn Muscle In Back
What is the difference between a strained, pulled, and torn back muscle? Sometimes, these terms are used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference.
A strained back muscle is a general term to describe damage to the muscle or tendon tissue. Doctors from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons say that a back muscle strain can happen over time because of repetitive actions that overstretch or damage the muscle. Or, the strain can be an acute injury caused by falling, twisting, or suffering trauma to the back.1
A pulled muscle in your back is an example of an acute muscle strain that causes mild to severe back pain. Doctors from MedlinePlus say that pulling a muscle or tendon can result in a muscle strain. This can cause muscle spasms, swelling, and make moving the muscle difficult.2
A tear in a back muscle is a more serious injury that results in some of the tissue tearing from the connective joint or tendon. Doctors from the AAOS say that a torn muscle will cause significant swelling and will probably result in the affected area becoming immobile.1
What Does It Feel Like To Pull A Muscle In Your Back
Correspondingly, how long does it take for a pulled back muscle to heal?
How do you treat a pulled muscle?
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How Long Does A Back Strain Last
Back muscle strains normally recover over time, with many healing within a few days and the majority within 3 to 4 weeks. Most patients with mild or severe lumbar strains heal completely and are symptom-free within days, weeks, or even months. In contrast, those who experience chronic pain or have spinal ligament damage may require medical treatment.
The severity of your injury will determine how quickly you recover. Generally, the longer you keep stress on your muscles, the more likely you are to develop arthritis in that area. Even if you’re not able to resume your previous activities right away, keeping active and moving about can help prevent stiffness and aid recovery.
Strains can also become chronic if you repeatedly pull or stretch your muscle beyond its normal range, which causes it to degenerate. This often happens when people try to “overcome” their injuries by working out harder or longer than expected. It’s important to take care of yourself and not push through pain signals. If a strain becomes chronic, see your doctor so you can be diagnosed and treated for another illness before further damage occurs.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
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How Can Back Sprains And Strains Be Prevented
It is not possible to prevent all back injuries, but you can take some steps to help lower the risk of a sprain or strain:
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep your bones and muscles strong.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts added stress on the structures of the lower back.
- Exercise regularly, including stretching, to keep your joints flexible and your muscles in good condition.
- Practice safety measures to help prevent falls, such as wearing shoes that fit properly, and keeping stairs and walkways free of clutter.
- Use good body mechanics when sitting, standing and lifting. For example, try to keep your back straight and your shoulders back. When sitting, keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Dont over-reach, and avoid twisting movements. When lifting, bend your knees and use your strong leg muscles to help balance the load.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine interferes with blood flow to the muscles.
Finding Comfort After Youve Strained A Muscle
If youve strained your muscle, there are several steps you can take to promote healing in your back. This includes:
- Taking over-the-counter pain medication for short-term pain relief
- Receiving light massage
- Using hot and cold therapy
- Soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts
Physical therapy and strength training can also play a valuable role in helping your strained muscles heal correctly and regain strength. In addition, prevent future strains by always practicing safe lifting techniques and warming up before exercising.
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How To Treat A Pulled Upper Back Muscle
Ice and heat therapy: This may be done by simply applying ice to the affected joint to help reduce pain and swelling. Using an ice pack is ideal, but ice cubes in a towel or a bag of frozen vegetables will also do the trick. It is recommended to ice the affected part of the body for about 15 to 20 minutes every two to four hours for the first 48 hours. After this time, applying heat to the area with a hot water bottle or a heating pad in 20-minute intervals will encourage healing by promoting blood flow.
Massage therapy: Back muscle strains are likely to result in the formation of tender knots or trigger points causing pain and discomfort, but it can be easily remedied by applying pressure to them through massage. It is advised to use good judgment when performing any kind of massage. Massage promotes the release of feel-good endorphins and increases blood circulation.
Posture correction while seated: Whenever you sit for an extended period of time, following these tips will help prevent back pain:
- Have your shoulders positioned over your hips
- Keep your elbows and knees bent at 90-degree angles
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Your computer monitor should be at eye level
- Your head should be positioned so that your ears are aligned with your shoulders
How Do You Avoid A Pulled Lower Back Muscle
The best way to decrease the risk of any injury in the lower back is to use proper lifting techniques. It is also important to keep your body weight at a healthy level and exercise regularly. A good overall stretching program and warm-up before activities can also decrease the chances of a pulled muscle.
Lower Back and Hip Muscles
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Are The Lungs In The Back
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Strengthen Your Back Muscles To Prevent Future Injuries
The second step to recovery for your pulled back include exercises to help strengthen your back, abdomen, and shoulders. You may be already aware of the benefits of exercising to strengthen your back such as loosening up your ligaments and tendons, preventing you from future injuries, repairing your muscles, and helping support your spine. The list could go on and on but you get the point. If youve sprained your back, strengthening your abdomen, shoulders, and back are all important as these components are what help support your spine.
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