Lower Back Muscle Strains Information

Lower Back Muscle Strains Information

Some studies have suggested that lower back pain affects as many as four of five Americans at some point in life. Related to lower back pain, muscle strains are the most often seen diagnoses. A lower back muscle strain may affect anyone; a person can strain their lower back simply picking up a child. However, strains to the lower back muscles are most often seen in athletes, weightlifters, healthcare workers, and industrial workers.

 

Anatomy As It Relates To Muscle Strains In The Lower Back


The lower back is medically referred to as the lumbar area since this is the area that the lumbar vertebrae are located. This is the area of the back between the last rib and the pelvis. It lies just behind the abdomen.

There are multiple deep muscles in the lumbar area of back that are responsible for extending, flexing, and rotating the waist. Some of these muscles also assist with lower extremity movements. The three main muscle groups are the psoas major (the primary flexor muscle); the lateral intertransversarii and quadratus lumborum (lateral flexors); and the interspinales, multifidi, intertransversarii mediales, and lumbar erector spinae (main extensor muscles). These muscles attach to the lumbar spine via tendons. They are critical for bending, extending, and rotating the waist.

What Is A Lower Back Muscle Strain?

A lower back muscle strain, also called a lumbar strain, is when the fibers in one or more of the lower back muscles abnormally stretches or tears. Like all strains, lower back strains can be divided into specific grades of injury based on the degree of damage to the muscle fibers:

Grade I - the muscle is stretched abnormally and there may be a few microscopic tears to the muscle fibers, but the muscle retains normal strength and functioning.
Grade II - the muscle fibers have some tearing and the person will notice a mild to moderate loss of muscle strength and function.
Grade III - extensive to complete tearing of muscle fibers and the person will have severe to complete loss of muscle strength and function.

What Causes A Lower Back Muscle Strain?

The muscle stretching or tearing is most often the result of overuse or improper use of the muscle (picking up something too heavy or repetitively bending over) or a traumatic injury (slip, fall, sports injury, or car accident). Certain factors leave a person more at risk for a lower back muscle strain:

* pregnancy
* obesity
* history of lower back injury or pain
* being over age forty
* occupations, hobbies, sports, and such that involve the frequent lifting or pulling of heavy objects, long periods of sitting or bending over, and/or frequent twisting at the waist
* having a chronic cough
* leg imbalances where one leg is longer than the other
* congenital spinal defects (scoliosis)
* poor posture

What Are The Symptoms Of A Lower Back Muscle Strain?

Keep in mind that the symptoms experienced will largely depend on the severity (grade) of injury. General symptoms include any of the following:

* mild to severe localized pain, discomfort, or tenderness across the lumbar region of the back
* spasms in the affected muscle
* tightness of the affected muscle
* mild to severe loss of muscle function
* muscles may feel weakened
* specific movements, postures, and positions may cause pain to intensify
* possible bruising, redness, heat, and swelling over the affected muscle (especially in cases of traumatic injury)
 

Strengthening Exercises

These Low Back Exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility.

Massage Treatment

These Low Back Massage Techniques are of great value in pain relief; circulation stimulation; dispersing blood and fluid accumulations; swelling reduction; and relaxing muscle spasms, especially when used alongside the Sinew Therapeutics liniments, soaks and massage oil.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the back because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured back, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured back as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the back, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the back, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the back can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your back to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the back. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your back with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in your back that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your back may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your back you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the back, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your back with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.

2. Soak your back with the Sinew Relaxing Soak to relax muscles and tendons that are in spasm, ease joint pain and stiffness, and improve range of motion. The Sinew Relaxing Soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your back. The soak can be used by saturating a towel in the liquid and applying it to your back. Chronic Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.