Back strains or sprains are a common cause of lower back pain. These strains or sprains often occur from the sudden moving, bending, and twisting of the lower back. A back strain occurs when the fibers of the muscles get stretched or torn, while a back sprain happens when the ligaments are torn from where they are attached. Back injuries carry the potential to cause a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Symptoms of a Back Strain or Sprain:
Back strains and sprains often result in generalized pain in the mid to lower back. Some of the more specific symptoms may include:
- Lower back pain that can radiate into the buttocks, but does not spread to the legs.
- Stiffness in the lower back.
- Restricted range of motion.
- The inability to maintain normal posture due to the stiffness or pain.
- Muscle spasms, either with activity or rest.
- Pain that is consistent for a maximum of 10-14 days
Causes of Back Strains and Sprains:
Some of the common causes of back strains and sprains include:
- Falling: Falls in a parking lot, down the stairs, and from a ladder are the most common types of falls that lead to lumbar strains and sprains.
- Slipping: Slipping on an icy parking lot, on an untreated sidewalk, or wet floor can cause a sprain even if you don’t fall forcefully onto the floor.
- Traffic Accident: Car accidents and other motor vehicle crashes are among the most common causes of lumbar strains and sprains.
- Sports Athletes: Athletes are often hit and knocked around while playing sports. Sports also require a great deal of twisting and bending of the back.
- Work Injuries: An unsafe workplace that uses improper lifting techniques or requires strenuous manual labor may result in a lumbar strain or sprain.
Anyone who experiences lower back pain should see a doctor. Your medical professional can rule out more severe injuries and will prescribe the proper treatment. In order to confirm a diagnosis of lumbar strain or sprain, a doctor will need to perform certain tests.
Back Strain and Sprain Treatment
Doctors have several tools to use when diagnosing back injuries. Two of the most common diagnostic tests used to diagnose back sprains and strains are:
- X-ray: An x-ray can show the vertebrae, as well as an outline of the joints. It can rule out fractures, infections, and tumors. Many lumbar strains and sprains involve only the muscles and ligaments, but other injuries may be present as well.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): An MRI will provide the doctor a three-dimensional image of the spinal cord, nerve roots, and the surrounding areas. This allows the doctor to properly diagnose the problem and treat the pain. They will be able to more accurately prescribe a treatment regimen.
Once a lumbar strain or sprain is confirmed, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan. This treatment plan will typically include bed rest for no more than three days. Anything longer than this amount of time may increase the loss of muscle strength and result in muscle stiffness. The pain is usually controlled with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication unless the pain is extremely severe.
Depending on the type of back injury, your doctor may also suggest physical therapy as a treatment option. This therapy could include pelvic traction, massage, ice, heat, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, and other stretching exercises. All of these will help with the pain while relaxing the muscles at the same time. The stretching exercises should be continued even after the pain stops, to keep the muscles loose.
If you are originally diagnosed with a back strain or sprain and the pain does not disappear after a week or two, it may be a sign of a more severe back injury. More serious back injuries, such as a herniated disc, require more specialized treatment.
Preventing Back Strains and Sprains
While it is not possible to prevent all back injuries, such as those sustained in a sudden car accident, you can prevent some lumbar strains or sprains. Proper posture, exercise, and proper back support while sleeping are a few ways to help avoid a back strain. The following list contains a few more preventative actions:
- Use an exercise program to strengthen the lower back muscles
- Use the proper technique when lifting heavy objects
- Sit properly
- Use a back support in bed to prevent the back from twisting while sleeping
- Wear the proper shoes to prevent falls
Most people completely recover from a lumbar strain or sprain without future problems. Some people, on the other hand, will find that it becomes a chronic issue after that initial spinal injury. Certain people will need to wear a back-support brace for the rest of their life or change their jobs, because the lifting, bending, and twisting is too much for their weakened muscles. Make sure to discuss your back injury with your medical professionals if the pain continues longer than expected after your initial back injury diagnosis.
Financial Compensation for Accident Related Back Injuries
Soft tissue injuries such as a lumbar sprains and strains can have lasting effects on the health of your spine. In addition to the longer term effects of a back injury, you may also be out of work initially and require medical treatment. If your injury is the result of the negligence of another person, you are entitled to reimbursement for all accident related damages. Do not let the responsible insurance company undervalue your back injury claim, as accepting less than full reimbursement for your loss may result in having to pay for future medical care out of pocket.
The Dixon Injury Firm has a proven track record of recovering compensation for back injury victims. Back injuries can often be even more serious than a simple broken bone. It is important you receive the treatment you need and do not accept a settlement until you are fully healed. Call our St. Louis back injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm at 314-409-7060. All initial consultations are free and there is a never a fee for our services if we do not win your case.