Back Injury - 18 Home Treatments Caused by Muscular Stress or Strain
Any back injury can be serious. Broken bones should always be attended to by a physician but pulled or strained muscles can be dealt with at home most of the time. You can recover much faster if you keep some supplies on hand at all times. No matter how many times injuries happen, it really pays off to be prepared.
Muscle strains and sprains are the most common injuries that cause back pain. A muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers are abnormally stretched or torn. A sprain occurs when the ligaments, the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together, are torn from their attachments.
The spinal column is supported by large muscles called the Paraspinal muscles. These muscles help support the spinal column as well as the weight of the upper body. The spinal vertebrae are connected by ligaments that help to maintain the integrity of the spinal column.
These muscles, ligaments, and bones all work together to provide control and strength for most all movements of the body. The lumbar spine and its muscles are needed for most all activities. That’s exactly why it’s more prone to injury. When a muscular back injury happens, you simply can’t move much at all!
When the spine is injured, inflammation of the soft tissue can result. This inflammation causes pain and muscle spasm. People are often surprised at how painful and debilitating a back injury can be. It can force you to remain in bed for a few days, and can cause intermittent symptoms for weeks. However, over 90 percent of people are completely recovered from an episode of muscle strain or sprain within one month.
Back Injury Protocols After Muscular Strain or Stress
After an injury, do not try to get up. Stop! Then drop everything you were doing. Do not move or allow anyone to pick you up or touch you until you’re absolutely sure nothing is broken.
If you think your back is broken and are able, call 911 immediately.
If you’re fairly certain your injuries are not life threatening, crawl to your bed if necessary. Have someone get you an ice pack for you so you can apply it to the area immediately if you’re not able to get one for yourself.
Most injuries are a result from sudden forceful movement such as a fall, lifting a heavy object improperly, or even twisting the back in an unusual manner.
Prompt treatment of a muscular back injury or strain is important, once you know the cause of your symptoms.
Remember in all cases, you should never move into pain, you should move away from it.
Erector Spinae - Deep Muscles Attached to the Spine
The erector spinae are the largest group of intrinsic muscles of the back. They are the primary extensors of the spinal column. The ererctor spinae also help stablilze the spine when an impact happens. (like falling down.) One end attaches to each vertebra and the other head attaches to the spine.
To release this muscle, each muscle must be compressed by pressure, then released. View the video just below.
What Happens to Your Muscles After an Injury?
1)Muscle Guarding – "Muscle guarding is usually the direct result of an injury. It is more persistent and can be especially troublesome. It acts as a protective mechanism following an injury, such as a broken bone or a sprain. Muscles will spasm to minimize movement and stabilize the area of injury often acting as a splint. Those with disc issues are familiar with the excruciating pain of a compressed nerve accompanied by muscle cramping."
2)Referred Pain – is described as pain perceived at a location other than the site of the painful stimulus
Sharp Pain Vs Dull Throbbing Pain
Sharp pain (axial pain) is likely a sign that a bone is likely broken, internal vital organs may have been damaged – if the impact was forceful enough), or a muscle was torn. Sharp pain should always be taken seriously. Seeking medical attention is a requirement for full recovery.
Dull pain – Usually occurs during referred pain (see above) but can also accompany other types of pain.
Radicular pain is a deep pain (but can be dull and throbbing in my experience) and signals that muscles have been strained or damaged. It is caused by compression, injury to a spinal nerve root, or compression. Since this type of pain is usually triggered by nerves that align discs, muscles and ligaments - it is likely these nerves are firing off – either intermittently or constantly. Ice is best for onset of muscular back pain. Ice is best to deflame the fire and helps serve as an anti-inflammatory.
Everyone's pain threshold tolerance levels are different. It can vary from person to person. After having gone through child birth, there is no question that my tolerance levels are quite high. :)
Prevent Back Injury by:
Strengthening core muscles.
Keeping vitamin D levels up to optimum. There is not ONE day that goes by that I don’t take it! You can read more about it here.
18 Home Treatments for Back Pain Resulting from Muscular Injury
Ice is the absolute best thing in the world for any injury (but especially back injury because it influences the whole body) during the first 72 hours. Have several large gel pack ready to go for those times when you need them. Ice on for 30 minutes, ice off for two hours. Repeat as necessary for back pain.
After the first 72 hours have passed, you can alternate ice and heat as needed (called a contrast bath) using the same rules as for icing.
As much as you might not like it, your body needs to rest. Your body heals best and fastest when you’re not straining your body.
Even though rest is recommended, too much relaxation makes way for muscle atrophy and can extend back injury recovery. After 72 hours, you must get up and move around some. Atrophy happnes quickly. Light walking and light stretches will engage your muscles enough to get by initially.
Force hydration. Water is so important to any type of pain. After an injury, muscles store lactic acid. Drink as much as possible to flush the acid out and relieve the muscular back pain.
Take ibuprofen or naproxen for the pain and 500mg curcumin (turmeric) every two hours to help alleviate inflammation.
Practice abdominal breathing by breathing deeply - keep your breaths long and slow.
As soon as you can, get into an Epsom salt bath. The sulfur and magnesium contained in ES are vital to muscle health and swelling.
Align your spine when you're in bed. Keep your cervical spine, thoracic spine and lumbar spine in a straight line. NOT curling up will help alleviate back pain much faster. Lying on your stomach is contraindicated. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs or for back sleepers, place a pillow under your knees. This helps relieve the pressure your spine needs to heal and rest properly from muscular back injury.
When you bend over, bend your knees not your back. It also helps to stick your buttocks out which helps bring back the natural curve of the lower back. This prevents extending muscular back injury.
Salon pas patches and creams are fantastic when you’ve got pain. Keep plenty on hand!
One of the best things about them is that they can be worn anytime, anywhere!
Sit at the edge of your chair or bed, keep your legs spread out, and feet flat on the floor. This also helps relieve stress on the lower back. NO NOT cross your legs.
Force mobilization of the spinal column and good posture when you sit or stand by using compression via a back support/brace. Use a pillow in your lower back when you sit.
Gently swing your hips from side to side when you walk.
It is very likely you have activated the trigger points found in your gluteals and back. Push into them with your knuckles as you find areas of back pain. (Read more about trigger points on this page.)
Massage your own self. As a massage therapist, I’m lucky to know what muscles affect which bones. When I find a painful area (just by manipulating the muscles at the origin of pain), I push and release the muscle or dig into them with my fingertips depending on the pain threshold. You can also use circular motions and elongating strokes to help decrease muscle nerves from firing (sending painful signals to the brain). Most people can reach the muscles of the upper shoulder and lower back. Done often enough, the muscles will finally relax but it does take time. Deep muscles do not give in easily! Give them all the time they need to heal properly by resting until full recovery.
Arnica oil is one of the best pain relievers there is for the muscles. Mix a few drops with a carrier oil (like olive oil) and rub/massage out painful areas. If you can’t reach them, ask a friend to help.
If there is swelling, eat light meals. Your body is concentrating on healing itself. Overloading with food makes it work harder. Soup, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, crackers, applesauce, oatmeal and other light foods are best.
After the first 72 hours and you’re in recovery, try light stretches outlines on this page. You may also want to get an adjustment by your local chiropractor.
Spinal Column Warning Signals
Loss of control of bladder or bowels
Progressive lower extremity weakness
Severe, constant pain
There are serious conditions that require more immediate treatment. If you are unsure of the cause of your symptoms, seek a physician’s care immediately.
If your symptoms persist despite treatment, it is appropriate to return to your doctor for further evaluation. Other causes of back pain should be considered, and perhaps x-rays or other studies (MRI, CT scan, bone scan, laboratory studies) may be needed to make an accurate diagnosis. Some back injury problems may never go away completely, but you should be able to get some relief from using these tips.
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.