Back Strain (Lumbar Strain)

A lumbar low back sprain/strain occurs with a sudden stressful low back injury, causing stretching or tearing of the muscle/tendons/ligaments of the low back region. The muscles are large in this area and when a back injury strain occurs, severe low back pain is the result.

However, a sprain or strain may be misdiagnosed when an underlying disc injury has not yet made itself evident.The erector spinae muscles are the firm prominent muscles that you can feel in the lower part of your back, on either side of the midline. These muscles can be painful when they get tensed and cramped up in spasms. When strains are imposed on the psoas muscle, tremendous forces are exerted on the lumbar spine. These forces can be very irritating to the low back.

The low back pain from a sprain or muscle strain back injury is in a broad area of the back and may be on either side, with consequent painful muscle spasms occurring with activity, or at night during sleep. The back injury pain is worsened by activities, and bed rest is an absolute necessity for a short period of time – one to three days.

Muscle injury typically will not include weakness in the legs. There is marked restriction and painful limitation in range of motion. Back Injury patients are typically bent over and unable to straighten up or maintain a normal posture. Back Injuries can cause any particular activity to be impossible, including sitting, standing, walking, driving, etc.

No diagnostic testing is performed for back injuries, except in a case of unremitting sprain or strain which has been present for several weeks and is not improving as expected. At this point, x-rays of the lumbar spine will be needed to rule out underlying spinal injury or disease. If symptoms persist, an MRI is indicated to diagnoses underlying disc injury such as ruptured or degenerated disc, not evident or suspected at the initial examination.

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