Best Physical Recovery Therapy Tips For Contact Injuries In Lower Back
It is estimated that lower back pain affects up to 80% of adults at some point in their life. If you or someone close to you has ever had to deal with such pain, you know it can be a painful and difficult condition. There are many factors that can contribute to lower back pain, such as contact injuries. What specific therapy is available for contact injuries in the lower back? This article will discuss that question.
What are Contact Injuries?
Most back pain is mechanical in nature, either brought on by wear and tear or by an outside source. Such is the case with contact injuries or traumatic injuries. These can occur while playing sports, if you’re in a motor vehicle accident, or if you experience a fall. The structure of the lower back consists of vertebrae, intervertebral discs, tendons, ligaments, muscle, and nerves. A disruption in any of these can cause discomfort and even severe pain. Listed here are some of the most common contact injuries:
- When ligaments, tendons, or muscles are overstretched or damaged they can cause pain or spasms in the lower back. Commonly known as sprains when dealing with ligaments, and strains when dealing with tendons and muscles.
- Herniated/Ruptured Disc
- In between each set of vertebrae is a gel-like or rubbery disc that provides cushioning, height, and allows for bending and flexion of the back. When a contact injury occurs that causes the spine to become overly compressed, these discs can begin to bulge out or even rupture into the spinal canal. The nerves traveling through the canal can become pinched and compressed causing back pain.
Physical Therapy Tips
The goal is to get back to a normal and pain free life. Here are some common and effective therapy tips:
Ice and Heat Therapy
- Applying ice to the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time for the first 24-72 hours can do much to decrease inflammation and pain. Alternately, after the first 72 hours have passed moist heat can be applied to soothe muscles and increase circulation.
- You may have seen a certain Olympic swimmer with small reddish circles all over his back in between swims. He was employing the use of cupping, a practice used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Suction cups are placed over musculature for small increments of time to increase circulation to an area and promote healing in sore muscles.
- Massage can help to relax tightened muscles due to contact injuries and can promote circulation to troubled areas.
- Perhaps the first inclination after a contact injury is to not move, to not incur any more pain. True, rest is needed in the first day or 2, but when it comes to the back, movement is indeed necessary for recovery. Performing daily stretches can help alleviate the pain and prevent further injury. Here are some common stretches for acute lower back pain:
Knee to Chest
- Lie flat on the floor in a relaxed position. Your left knee should be in a bent position with foot on the floor. Clasp your hands around your right knee and bring it toward your chest. Pull firmly and hold for 10 or 20 seconds and slowly relax. Repeat the same procedure with the opposite leg. Do 5 sets.
- To start the bridging exercise, lie on the floor with back flat, knees bent and feet flat on floor. Place a pillow under your head to prevent neck from arching back. Tighten your glutes and your abdominal muscles in order to flatten your lower back. Slowly raise your buttocks and lower back from the floor and hold for ten to thirty seconds. Slowly relax. Repeat 4 times
- Lie on your back with knees bent and head in a comfortable position. Squeeze your buttocks together, tighten abdominal muscles, and tilt or tuck your buttocks until the small of your back is pressing flat against the surface of the floor. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and slowly relax. Repeat 5-10 times.
Extension Lying Prone
- Lie face down in a resting position. Relax and take a few deep breaths to release any tension in the lower back. Hold this position a few seconds until comfortable. Then, supporting yourself on your elbows, slowly raise your upper body as far as you can without increasing your pain. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
- As mentioned before, getting up and moving around is essential to a speedy recovery. While it may seem daunting at first, going out for a walk is a restorative low impact exercise and can also be a time to restore the mind. Back pain is known to cause physical pain but can also cause mental distress. Take the time to walk with a friend or family member to help in your recovery process.
While there is no quick fix to contact injuries in the lower back, there are plenty of tips to help speed up the recovery process. At Blue Hills Sports and Spine Rehabilitation we are invested in helping you get back to a normal and pain free life. To that end we have trained physical therapists that can provide detailed therapy and treatment options specific to you and your condition.