A pulled muscle occurs when a muscle or tendon is overstretched or torn. While muscle strains can occur anywhere in the body, they are most common in the lower back, neck, shoulders, and hamstrings. For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on muscle strain in the lower back.
There are a variety of symptoms that you may experience if you’ve pulled a muscle in your back, including:
Pulled muscles often occur due to overuse, fatigue, or improper use of a muscle. Common activities that results in pulled back muscles include:
Pulled muscles are classified as either strains or sprains. Strains, which are more common, involve a tendon that is overstretched or torn that is typically caused by overloading and stretching of a muscle or tendon resulting in a partial or complete tear. Sprains typically take longer to recover from and refer to a ligament that has been torn or stretched.
Pulled muscles in the lower back usually heal quickly, with approximately 90% of cases resolving within a month. However, if you’re suffering with a pulled muscle you may be looking for ways to relieve your symptoms and encourage healing immediately. We’ll discuss 3 of the best treatment options you can try to decrease your symptoms and speed up healing so you can get back to your daily activities without pain.
Icing the area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, for the first 24 to 72 hours after injury, can help to decrease inflammation and pain. After the first 72 hours, you can apply moist heat to the area for 20 minutes at a time to soothe affected muscles and increase blood circulation to the area, which promotes healing.
Massage therapy helps to relax tightened muscles in the lower back, and increase blood circulation to the area, which promotes healing.
After the first 48 to 72 hours, you can start to add gentle stretching exercises into your day to decrease pain and increase range of motion. Below, we’ve outlined 3 great stretches to relieve symptoms of a pulled muscle in the lower back.
a. Cat and Camel
b. Bird Dog
c. Half Cobra
* Keep in mind that this position may be difficult initially, so ensure that you start slowly and cautiously.
Pulled muscles in the lower back can be quite painful and you may be tempted to lay in bed; however, avoid resting for a prolonged period of time as this can actually lead to a worsening of symptoms. If you’ve tried home care and your symptoms persist, consider a consultation with one of the physical therapists at Blue Hills Sports & Spine Rehabilitation. They can assess your condition and develop a treatment program that may consist of manual therapy, as well as other treatment modalities to help speed up your healing and set you on the path towards optimal functioning.