Conditions treated

Back sprains / strains

Lower back sprains and strains

Lumbar (lower back) muscle strains and ligament sprains are the most common causes of back pain. Strains refer to injury to the muscle or tendons while sprains refer to injury to the ligaments. Muscle/tendon strains and ligament sprains are common in the lower back, because muscles/tendons and ligament support the spine and enable moving, twisting and bending.


Muscle Strain

Lumbar muscle strain is caused when muscle/tendon fibers are repetitively or excessively used, resulting in inflammation, spasm or tearing. While a pulled back muscle or strain may seem like a minor injury, the resulting pain and muscle spasms can be surprisingly severe.

Ligament Sprain

Lumbar sprain is caused when ligaments (the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together) are stretched or torn from their attachments resulting in inflammation and pain. Ligaments have a poor

Several factors can put a person at greater risk for a back strain or sprain, including:

Symptoms are typically limited in duration and follow a pattern:

Ongoing moderate pain and stiffness is usually felt for 1 to 2 weeks while muscles heal. Compared to many other kinds of back injuries, a pulled muscle is usually straightforward to diagnose and easy to treat, and symptoms usually resolve within 4 to 6 weeks. Some severe muscle injuries, such as a complete muscle tear, can take months to heal.

A specific diagnosis of ligament sprain or muscle strain is usually not needed, as both have almost identical symptoms and receive the same treatment. If pain has continued for more than a week or two, or if it is severe enough to disrupt daily activities, you should seek medical attention.

Diagnostic testing is usually not necessary, unless pain has lasted for more than six weeks and has not improved as expected following physical therapy. It is important to rule out underlying causes, such as an undetected disc injury. If symptoms are persistent for longer than six weeks and physical therapy has not improved the condition, the following tests may be needed:

  • X-ray. X-rays of the spine are used to search for other potential causes of pain, i.e. infections, fractures, etc.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI can show the presence of abnormal fluid indicating inflammation, degeneration and tumors.


Stay Active

Staying active and avoiding bed rest for longer than two days is recommended when experiencing back pain. Bed rest can lead to a loss of muscle strength and may increase muscle stiffness, adding to pain and discomfort. In addition, sprains and strains are commonly treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, if the pain is mild to moderate.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may include traction, gentle massage, ice and heat therapy, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation and stretching and strengthening exercises. A physical therapist will also recommend exercises to do regularly at home in the long-term. The goal of physical therapy is to restore normal strength and flexibility to allow return to normal movement. You should do the exercises learned and practiced in physical therapy for the rest of your life to stay healthy and prevent future injury. Alternative holistic options to relieve low back pain include acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage and yoga. Pain medications and muscle relaxants may also be helpful on a short-term basis in combination with the physical therapy or holistic treatments.

Back Braces

A carefully fitted prescription back brace can be an excellent additional treatment for sprains and strains. Back braces have been shown to improve mobility and lower pain, better than only physical therapy and pain medication.


A prescription back-brace is generally able to:

  • Reduce pain and pressure and micro-motion of the vertebral segments and other spinal structures. By reducing spinal pressure, a back brace may reduce pain from inflamed discs, nerves, joints, ligaments, and muscles/tendons.
  • Add stability and provide additional spinal support. The brace can assist the ligaments in providing spinal support and help improve awareness of the body’s positioning (proprioception), which allows the wearer to consciously adjust posture for improved back health. The brace can also reduce pulling on the spinal structures from weak abdominal and core muscles.
  • Reduce range of motion during healing and restrict painful movements . By holding torso in a safe, supportive posture, a back brace can help provide a healthy healing environment for the current injury and prevent additional injuries.

TNS unit – TENS

Provides counter stimulation, resulting in pain relief in the acute phase of an injury. May release body’s endorphins or pain-relieving factors to reduce pain.

Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP)

Centrifuging-Process to-Separate PRP

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is the re-administration of your own platelets to activate the body’s natural healing cascade for repair and regeneration. PRP helps promote healing of spinal structures due to injury where pain and inflammation persists. PRP releases growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines that reduce inflammation and attract powerful cells to the site of injury to promote healing. Platelet Rich Plasma is prepared by centrifuging a small amount of a patient’s blood to obtain a platelet-rich sample. The platelets are activated and then injected under ultrasound or X-ray guidance. In most cases, the treatment can be completed in one session. More than one course of PRP may be required and can be safely performed depending upon the response to the therapy and clinical indications.

As part of a cell-based treatment, regenerative cells can be collected from bone marrow and blood with minimal discomfort. These cells can then be processed in a state-of-the-art laboratory utilizing the latest technology. Finally, the regenerative cells, in combination with natural growth and healing factors, can be injected where they are needed – such as an inflamed hip or knee joint. Over time, the cells can potentially repair and regenerate the damaged tissues, resulting in relief of pain and improvement in mobility and function.