The majority of acute lower back pain is caused by damage to the muscles and/or ligaments in the lower back. While a muscle strain doesn’t sound like a serious injury, lower back pain can be severe and is the cause of many emergency room visits each year. A muscle strain or a muscle sprain in the back is the most common cause of back pain. In most people, this pain will last a short time, a few days to a couple of weeks.
There are two common types of lower back strain:
Muscle strains happen when the muscle is over-stretched or torn, resulting in damage to the muscle fibers (also called a pulled muscle).
Lumbar sprain happens when ligaments are stretched too far or torn. Ligaments are very tough, fibrous connecting tissues that connect bones together.
For most back muscle injuries, it doesn’t matter if it is a muscle strain or a ligament sprain that is causing the pain, since the treatment and prognosis for both are the same.
When muscles or ligaments in the lower back are strained or torn, the area around the muscles will usually become inflamed. Inflammation leads to back spasm, and the back spasm is what causes both severe lower back pain and difficulty moving.
Lower back pain caused by muscle strains is usually caused by any type of movement that puts undue stress on the lower back. Frequent causes include lifting a heavy object, lifting while twisting, or a sudden movement or fall.
Sports injuries are also a frequent cause of a pulled back muscle, especially with sports that involve twisting or any types of sudden impact or jarring motions.
Pulled back muscle symptoms range from a mild ache to sudden debilitating pain. Symptoms of a lower back pulled muscle include some combination of the following; localized pain in the lower back, the lower back may be sore upon touch, the pain usually comes on suddenly and may be accompanied with muscle spasms. Severe back pain may resolve quickly, but a lower level of pain, or intermittent flare-ups of pain, may continue for a few weeks or months.
Initial treatments for pulled back muscles can include some combination of; pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, massage, and cold therapy.
Applying some type of cold therapy can help reduce inflammation, which is extremely helpful immediately following the injury. There are many theories why applying cold therapy after a muscle injury is beneficial. Some of the possible reasons include the following; decreased nerve transmission, cold reduces the activity of nerve endings, cold raises the pain threshold and causes a release of endorphins. Cold sensations over-ride the pain sensation - known as the pain gate theory.
Muscle spasm is often a response to pain. The muscles surrounding the injury contract to protect it. This is known as muscle guarding and it aims to prevent further damage. Ice, being useful for pain relief is therefore beneficial in reducing muscle spasms.
Patients want faster relief with less pain medication and the ability get back to their normal lives quickly. Cold therapy has proven to be the safest, most efficient form of non-medicine pain relief.
IsoComforter.com is a distributor and manufacturer of cold therapy products that can help reduce the pain and suffering associated with back muscle sprains and strains, rotator cuff surgery, orthopedic trauma and sports injuries.