If you have suffered from a sudden back strain, you know the feeling of anxiety and worry that comes with the pain. When will you be able to get back to practice, or even more importantly, competitions? Will you need surgery to repair the injury? There are a few things you can do in the wake of a sudden back strain to make sure you miss as little time as possible.
Have you recently suffered a back strain or have lower back pain that won’t dissipate? If so, come see our team at Steven E. Nolan, MD. Dr. Nolan, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience, has received numerous top-surgeon awards.
Here, he discusses back strain basics, who is prone to back strains, and how these injuries are treated.
Your spinal column, though excellent at many things, isn’t able to support itself on its own. A series of tissues—mainly muscles, tendons, and ligaments—in your back support your spinal column and keep it in place. Because of their locations, these tissues also help hold your upper body weight and make sure you can move, bend, and twist. When these muscles and tendons are abnormally stretched or torn, they are classified as a strain. This causes the tissues to become inflamed and, in turn, creates back pain.
Though sometimes thought of as interchangeable, there is a difference between a strain and a sprain. Strains occur when muscles and tendons are completely or partially torn. A sprain occurs when a ligament, which connects two bones, tears or completely disconnects with one of its anchor points.
A back strain has a few signature symptoms, including:
The pain of a back strain can spread to the upper buttock or even the thighs.
Among athletes, sports with a lot of twisting, repetitive impact, or movement of weight at the end of the range of motion see the most back strains. This means golfers, runners, divers, gymnasts, weightlifters, and football players are the most likely to suffer a back strain. Golfers and gymnasts are especially susceptible.
Many sports injuries are treated using the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Although true for the first 24-48 hours following a back strain, extended bed rest can actually prolong symptoms and delay recovery. You should try to return to light activity, like walking, as soon as possible. Once Dr. Nolan is able to assess and diagnose your injury, he may recommend prescription medications or physical therapy as a part of your treatment plan. In cases of severe strains, he may deem surgery necessary.
To learn more about back strains or to be treated for your lower back injury, request an appointment online or over the phone with Steven E. Nolan, MD, today.