Back sprain is an injury of the ligaments, mostly in the lower back. The main function of the back ligaments is to maintain spinal column stability.
Causes and signs of back sprains
Back pain and sprains are very common in the general population. A sprain often results from falling, twisting or forcing a joint out of its normal position. During the trauma that causes injury, ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of movement. Moreover, there are several risk factors of back sprains development. This includes excessive back curving, overweight, weak back or/and abdominal muscles. Obviously, athletes and physically active people are more likely to experience back sprains and injuries.
The most common signs of back sprains include:
• Pain (from moderate to severe or unbearable);
• Local inflammation, followed by tenderness, swelling or/and fever;
• Inability to move freely;
• Muscle spasms;
What should I do after experiencing trauma and back sprain?
This depends on the level of injury. Mild sprains are usually diagnosed based on the injury description and physical examination by physician. If the back sprain is severe, especially
when the loss of function occur, an X-ray test may be done to evaluate the level of injury. If
you are experiencing a strong or unbearable pain which continues for a long period of time and painkillers do not help, you should definitely go to hospital as soon as possible for diagnosis and immediate treatment.
As in most cases of traumas, a patient will be prescribed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. These medications are very effective as they affect both pain and inflammation. If the pain is very strong and not managed with these drugs, stronger painkillers may be prescribed, such as opioid analgesics. If the pain lasts for too long and inflammation does not reduce, surgery may be considered as the following step of the treatment, if it is appropriate for the patient’s case.
Self-help options and back sprain prevention
The most important self-help options after experiencing back sprain are resting and cooling the injured area. After a few days cooling may be changed to heating, as it improves better blood circulation and enhances healing process. A patient should get back to the physical activity quite soon after the trauma and the bed rest time should not exceed 2 days period. Gentle back motion/mobility exercises should be done as soon as the pain disappears after the trauma. These exercises should be followed by the back strengthening exercises as they help to protect your back from further traumas. To avoid future back sprains a person should also:
• Maintain correct sitting and standing position whenever possible;
• Lift heavy weights only in proper body position and only when it is unavoidable;
• Reduce bodyweight if he or she is overweighed;
• Perform an appropriate warm-up before any physical activity.