Sprained lower back muscle, what is better heat or cold? Doctor gave me pain pills but it?s not effective. What can I do?

Back pain on the lower regions towards the end of the spine indicates physical trauma and stress caused by exertion or a bad posture. Oddly the pain medication that you have been given should alleviate some of the symptoms but if it is not helping then you are probably still stressing the muscle.

The muscles of the lower back are probably the most load bearing muscles of the body. This is because all of the movements of the various parts of the body result in a multiplied force to this area. For example, lifting a weight of one pound is multiplied due to a “lever” like effect in the lower back. These stresses can be managed by the lower back and spine – mostly since they are not sustained for hours and the muscle does come to rest in some time. However, repetitive stress injury has been known to be a leading cause of muscle strains that is equivalent to lifting up loads. Some of the causes of these injuries seem so innocuous that it is impossible to believe them. Take the example of a muscle strain to middle of the spin in the area that corresponds to your thorax. This area is highly sensitive to the typing posture and slouching for very long periods. This is because when the arms are outstretched and the back is slouched, every muscle of the back is taut and tightened. Over the course of 8 hours, this can cause chronic back pain.

The area of the lower back can be affected by the oddest everyday tasks like wearing high heels, bending over, excessive weight being applied, and slouching down in a chair for too long. Home remedies include the use of massages on the area. If you do not have company around to help you with a massage, take a hard, rounded object and lean back against a wall and move you back in such a way that the rounded surface can massage your back. You can also simulate a massage just by stretching and relaxing the muscles yourself. Hot presses are advised along with a balm that contains menthol for a cooling effect. Most important of all is to stop the repeated stress. Find the most comfortable orientation of your back when sitting, standing, and lying down. Memorize the way your back feels when it is stress free and always try to achieve that position. Build some muscle in the back as well by indulging in some weight exercises.

answered by G M

A sprain refers to the tearing of the tissues around an injured joint, which leads to pain, swelling and discolouration of the skin. The lower back muscles can be strained due to bending or overexerting beyond the normal range of activity, unexpected twisting or jerking movements, lifting heavy objects, accidents or even wearing high heels or an improper posture. Back sprains involve the ligaments around the spinal joints and usually take longer to heal because the ligaments cannot re-grow unlike muscles. So while sprained muscles elsewhere heal quickly by growing new muscle fibres, in the back the process is slower, taking a few weeks to a couple of months to heal completely.

To treat back sprains, it is crucial not to exert one-self and to spend as much time as possible lying down and resting. Place a pillow below your knees in order to reduce the pressure on the back. Applying a heat compress for 15 to 20 minutes in a day helps to relieve the muscle spasms. However do not be completely bed-ridden; carry on with your normal activity, taking care not to carry heavy objects, bend too much or over-exert your self. You can also get physiotherapy, acupuncture treatments and chiropractic treatments to relieve the pain and make your back muscles stronger. While these treatments are very beneficial in reducing the muscles spasms and inflammation, it is important not to over-do in the enthusiasm of speeding the recovery process. Once the pain is completely gone, you can also consult a specialist and start a gentle exercise routine to strengthen your back muscles.

answered by M W

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