How Long Does A Pulled Back Muscle Hurt – Most episodes of low back pain are caused by damage to the soft tissues that support the lower spine, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
The lower back, also known as the lumbar spine, depends on these soft tissues to hold the body upright and support the weight of the upper body. If they are under too much stress, the muscles of the lower back| or soft tissue injury and pain may result.
How Long Does A Pulled Back Muscle Hurt
Although a back muscle or sprain may seem like a minor injury, the pain and cramping can be surprisingly severe.
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A specific diagnosis of a sprained ligament or sprained muscle is usually not necessary, as the two have almost identical symptoms and receive the same treatment.
When the soft tissues in the lower back are stretched or torn, the surrounding area usually becomes inflamed.
Inflammation, or local swelling, is part of the body’s natural response to injury, in which blood rushes to the injured tissue to repair it. Inflamed muscles may spasm, be tender to the touch, or spasm and tighten, causing severe pain.
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The pelvic, hip, buttock and thigh muscles help the muscles of the lower back to support the lumbar spine. When these muscles are injured, pain or tightness can be felt in the lower back and hips or buttocks.
Compared to many other types of back injuries, a strained muscle is usually easier to diagnose and treat, and symptoms usually resolve within 4 to 6 weeks. Some serious muscle injuries, such as a complete muscle tear, can take months to heal.
Dr. Kojo Hamilton is a neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. For over a decade he has specialized in spinal trauma, spinal deformity in adults and minimally invasive spinal surgery. A strained back muscle can start as a sudden, sharp pain when lifting or bending. Or it may appear gradually, getting progressively worse over several days. This common injury can range from a minor inconvenience to severe pain. This can take weeks, sometimes months.1 A pulled muscle is a general term for muscle strain. 2 A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. When a ligament is stretched or torn, it is called a sprain. Back pain, often caused by muscle spasms, is one of the most common problems treated by healthcare professionals. In most cases, symptoms can be controlled and treated at home. But if the pain is unbearable or difficult to move, consult a doctor. Back Muscle Symptoms Symptoms of back muscle strain depend on where the injury is. The spine is divided into three main parts: the neck, upper back and shoulders, and lower back. For a tight muscle in the neck, you may experience: 3 Pain in the neck and upper back: Pain in the area between the spine and the shoulder blades Upper back muscle knots and tightness in the upper back and shoulders Pain when moving the shoulders With lower back strain injuries, many people experience the following symptoms: 3 Lower back pain and stiff back Muscle pain worsens with movement Pain radiating to hips and legs Pain radiating to hips and legs sprain Some of the most common causes include: Falling, especially if you hit the ground hard or have a bad fall. Repetitive movements that strain and irritate the muscles of the back. Unsteady lifting, twisting lifting, or lifting a very heavy object. Parents sometimes injure their children’s backs by throwing or playing with them. Excess weight puts extra stress on the back muscles. People who are overweight, those who gain weight suddenly and pregnant women are more sensitive to stretching muscles. Sedentary lifestyle. This weakens the back and increases the risk of injury. Poor posture while sitting or poor form while engaging in sports activities. A doctor may suspect a strain or sprain based on your symptoms and medical history. If another injury is possible, such as a broken bone or herniated disc, the doctor may do other tests, such as an X-ray or MRI scan. Treatment is usually the same. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor before treating your injury because symptoms of other injuries, such as a disc problem or broken bone, can mimic strains and sprains. After talking to a professional, try the following: 3 Apply cold. Cold helps reduce swelling, which is the primary source of pain in the first few days. The sooner you apply cold to the back muscle, the sooner you can reduce pain, control inflammation and start the healing process. Apply a cold compress for 15-20 minutes after injury. Leave a gap of at least 20 minutes between each cold application. Use abbreviations. Applying compression bandages or using an active compression system can help reduce swelling and edema, helping damaged tissue heal faster. rest Immediately after stretching a muscle, it is important to limit the amount of activity and avoid movements that increase pain. Once the initial pain subsides, returning to your previous position can prevent muscle weakness. Stretch yourself. According to Dr. Med. As you return to activity, gentle stretching exercises can improve tissue healing by bringing more blood flow to the injured area, says Coy Hamilton. Applying heat to the area before stretching is also beneficial. Ask your doctor about the right stretches for your condition. Pain reliever. Pain medications do not aid in the healing process and should only be used for short periods to facilitate normal activities of daily living. If you feel you need a pain reliever, consult your doctor to determine the type and dosage that is right for your particular situation. Use medications sparingly as pain is actually a key indicator throughout the recovery process. Do strength exercises. As the pain subsides, try adding strengthening exercises along with stretching. Allowing muscles to weaken with too much rest can actually slow recovery and increase the chance of future injury. Do a massage. A light massage can further increase blood flow to the injured tissue.1 Apply heat. After the first few days, alternate cold and heat therapy to help reduce pain and improve circulation. Try the 20-20-20 rule: 20 minutes of ice packs followed by 20 minutes of rest, then 20 minutes of heat. Repeat as needed, allowing 20 minutes between hot or cold treatments. For lower back strains, treatment includes light, low-impact exercise. Maintain range of motion and build muscle strength. 3 Walking, cycling, and swimming are some good options for maintaining activity while recovering from low back pain. After recovering from a tight back muscle, prevent future injuries by practicing good posture and warming up before activity. And all this will help to return to normal activities. You can rent a system to use at home or find a provider near you to start your recovery today. Sources: Lower back strains and sprains. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Low-Back-Strain-and-Sprain. (Jan 26, 2019) Back pain and sprains. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10265-back-strains-and-sprains. (January 25, 2019) Campaign D. Review of sprains and other soft tissue injuries. Merck Manuals. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/sprains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries/overview-of-sprains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries. (Jan 25, 2019) Exercises to stretch the muscles of the lower back. Spine Health Veritas Health. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/exercises-lower-back-muscle-strain (February 18, 2019) Maintaining good posture. American Chiropractic Association. https://acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment. (January 25, 2019)
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