We use our back every day to complete regular activities such sitting up, lifting and reaching.
Your back is in use all day long making the tendons, muscles, and ligaments in your back work hard.
These three soft tissue structures need to work synergistically for you to function without pain.
Since they are in constant motion it is common for them to tear, pull or get over-stretched.
When someone says their back is sprained they mean the ligaments are overstretched or torn. Now if they say it is strained then that means a muscle or tendon was overstretched or torn. People tend to use strain and sprain interchangeably but they are in fact different and because of that, the course of treatment and length of that treatment differs also.
Either injury can happen so fast and is easy to do.
It just takes one movement in the wrong direction, to sleep in the wrong position, or overdo something!
Even constant repetitive movement can cause a back injury, which is more common in sports injuries.
No type of back pain should be overlooked. Your whole body relies on the health of your back and spine so you want to make sure you treat your pain the right way the first time. Most pain will go away quickly but if it continues for more than a week or two then you need to seek medical attention.
Signs and symptoms that you have torn, strained, or pulled a muscle in your back:
- Lover back is sore or tender
- Sudden pain
- Muscles spasms
- Stiffness in you back
- Pain in your legs, buttock, or thighs
- Weakness in muscles or tendons
- Pain increases when you stand, walk or twist
What should you do after you have injured your back?
When you are experiencing the signs or symptoms listed above most people think they need to rest but that is actually not true.
There are many of things we all do that might not be the right action to take, so let’s look at 6 steps to take immediately after a back injury:
- Activity You need to continue to your regular activities but limit some tasks that aggravate your back. Resting can cause you back to heal even slower. Walking and moving is good for so you need to continue those activities, but lifting and contact sports may need to be put on hold. If you are moving and have to carry large boxes count yourself out and get the help you need to finish the job without causing you more pain or injuring yourself even more. The same thing with contact sports, you need to step back and support your team from the sidelines until you back is feeling better.
- Ice-Heat Treatment: The rotation of ice and heat is usually a treatment most people do but going it the right ways is important for you to get the results you want. Only use ice for the first 72 hours of your back pain. After that time period, you need to add heat to the rotation. The combination of the ice and heat allows you to reduce pain by lowering inflammation and loosen muscles at the same time. Typically, you will ice your back for 10-15 minutes a day and heat your back for 15-20 minutes. Ice heat therapy is a great self-done treatment for temporary relief.
- Avoid Carbs: What! How do carbs affect your back? Well, believe it or not, carbohydrate can make your inflammation of joints worsen. Eating protein and fresh produce will help you with your healing process. Don’t worry too much back pain doesn’t last too long for most injuries.
- Doctor: Have your doctor makes sure everything is okay because you don’t want to misjudge your injury and make it even worse. Many doctors will do same day appointments just to be safe and possibly provide you with pain meds to reduce the inflammation.
- Chiropractor: For a medication-free treatment you may want to see a chiropractor. Considering chiropractors are like back specialists it makes sense to have a chiro take a look to make sure you didn’t pop a disc out of place. An exam for back treatment at a chiropractic office will examine your entire spine and body alignment to find the underlining problem causing the pain. Be prepared to tell your doctor of chiropractic’s how your injury occurred because that will help them provide you with the best treatment.
- Stretches & Exercise: The exact type of stretch or exercise will need to be determined by your doctor or chiropractor. They will let you know which movement is safest and supportive of your injuries. Almost always light walking is advised.
Silly situations or regular movements get us all at some time. So, don’t let your back pain go for too long get the treatment you deserve.