Lumbar Spine Sprain

Lower back pain is most frequently caused by lumbar spine sprain or muscle strain. Lumbar sprain is a musculoligamentous injury that arises when ligaments become ripped from their attachments, affecting the important relationship between bone and ligament. Lower back pain is extremely common and should be checked by a doctor, especially if you are unsure of the cause.


Pain in the lower back which can radiate down into the buttocks. In general this pain will not spread into the legs, which differentiates lumbar sprain from certain other spinal injuries. Pain will be exacerbated during physical activity and should be reduced during periods of rest. You might experience occasional spasms in the lower back. These symptoms are all consistent with lumbar sprain and muscle strain, but if you feel the pain becoming chronic, great weakness in the back, or poor bowel or bladder control, this may be a more serious injury requiring immediate attention.


The structures of the spine are working almost constantly to maintain strength and balance during innumerable activities. This means that the muscles and ligaments of the lumber spine can be prone to injury through being overworked. A single incident involving a back twisting manoeuvre or sharp movement can also cause the injury. There are many other ways that the sprain can occur, but some recurring contributing factors have been singled out. Unsuitable techniques for weightlifting (or other lifting) can damage the lumbar spine. Another risk factor is a lack of sufficient stretching and strengthening in the muscles of the back, especially if you rely greatly on the lumbar spine. Obesity and smoking can also put you at risk.


The initial pain is likely to be strong and debilitating. You should see a doctor to rule out any major spinal injuries and take any advice that they provide. Patients are often told to rest completely, and may be forced to stay in bed for a couple of days due to the severity of the pain. In this period the swelling and the muscle spasms should diminish or cause less damage. After two days you should get out of bed so that the muscles do not become rigid and weakened. The doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants for those sufferers with persistent spasms, while anti-inflammatory pain medication can relieve other symptoms.


When you are pain free and the doctor gives their approval, a course of careful physical training can help to build up strength and flexibility in the lumbar spine. Specially selected exercises will achieve this without causing pain, and prepare you for a full return to activity. Stretches for the lower back, abdomen and the hips are all beneficial for preventing weakness in the back.


Most sufferers of lumbar sprains recover within a month, but if the symptoms recur or do not diminish then a doctor’s evaluation will be necessary. They might take an x-ray or other suitable tests in order to assess whether there have been any complications or if the symptoms are caused by a different spinal injury.

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