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.
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.
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
Platelet rich plasma therapy (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.