A muscle strain or pulled muscle is the most common cause of back pain. Muscles become overstretched or torn as a result of repetitive movements or improper stretching. Therefore, the fibers in your muscles become torn and need time to heal. These back pains are very uncomfortable and can be debilitating. But it is possible to prevent the pain from getting any worse.
How to Provide Immediate Relief for a Back Muscle Strain:
- Stop what you are doing. Whatever physical activity you are in the middle of when back pain flares up, stop immediately. Doing so protects your back from further injury. Further stress on an already strained muscle can cause serious damage and delay your recovery.
- Try NSAID medications. Strained or pulled muscles cause inflammation in the surrounding area. This often intensifies the pain. Your body naturally produces an inflammatory response to injury. And this can increase swelling as well as trigger muscle spasms. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are designed to reduce inflammation. In turn, this reduces swelling and will bring you pain relief. However, taking too many NSAIDs can cause problems with your liver. So, be sure to always follow the directions and speak with your doctor before use.
- Ice the injured area. Ice is another great way to reduce inflammation and provide relief to a strained muscle. Icing the area can reduce any soreness and pain you feel. If you do not have an ice pack, they are easy to make.
4 Ways to Make an Ice Pack to Treat a Back Muscle Strain:
- Fill a small plastic bag with ice and water, crushing it until smooth
- Fill a sock with rice and place in the freezer until cool
- Place a wet sponge in the freezer and once frozen, put in a plastic bag to use
- Use any bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer
Make sure you always cover your back first. Do not apply a frozen pack directly to the skin. You will be more at risk for a get ice burn. Use cold therapy for twenty minutes every 2 hours.
How to Treat a Strained Muscle After an Injury
Get some rest. Back pain can make it difficult to sleep with but you can help alleviate this by sleeping on a firm surface. The flatter the surface, the less strain will be placed on your back muscles. Allowing time to heal. If lying on a mattress, be sure to use pillows to give you a reclining position. You want to have pillows behind your upper back and under your knees for support. It is important to get as much rest as you can for the two days following your injury. If you must walk at all, take short walks as these can help prevent stiffness.
After 24 to 72 hours has passed since the injury, you can start trying different techniques for healing. If you were able to rest, pain should be minimal and make moving around easier. Instead of ice, you can always use heat therapy now and then. The warmth will soothe aching muscles and increase blood flow to the area. Heat therapy reduces stiffness and the increased blood flow helps damaged tissues heal quicker.
Start with gentle walks and exercises to gradually introduce movement back to your muscles. In fact, staying immobile for too long can weaken muscles. Weakening muscles will impair the healing process.
Gentle back-strengthening and stretching exercises will get you back to normal in no time. And when combined with heat therapy will repair even quicker.
You can expect a muscle strain to hurt and be sensitive for a few weeks. However, if the pain worsens or continues to interfere with your everyday life, speak with your doctor immediately.
If your muscle strain worsens or does not appear to be healing, call us 888-409-8006. Offices conveniently located throughout South Florida.