Lower back strains and sprains may not sound like serious injuries to some people, but for those suffering from these problems, the accompanying pain can be severe. A person’s back is comprised of bone and muscle that is supported by cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. The lower back supports much of a person’s body weight. This is one reason why lower back strains and sprains are commonly caused by slip and fall accidents.
When a person strains his or her back muscles, whether in a slip and fall accident, over exercise or a car wreck, the muscles and tendons surrounding the spine become twisted, pulled, or torn. With a muscle sprain, the ligaments become torn or stretched.
Symptoms of a Lower Back Strain or Sprain
The symptoms of a lower back strain or sprain are similar, and the treatments for both of these injuries are similar as well. A person suffering with a back strain or sprain will most likely experience one or all of the following:
- Pain and stiffness in the back.
- Pain that worsens when moving.
- Muscle cramping or sudden spasms.
- Difficulty standing straight, bending forward or sideways, and walking.
- Pain in the buttocks and legs. The pain is most commonly felt in the back of the thighs.
Treating Back Strains and Sprains
Unfortunately, there are no immediate cures for these types of problems, but most back muscle strains and sprains heal over time. Common treatments include:
Icing the back.
This can reduce the pain and swelling. A person should ice his or her back for 20 to 30 minutes every two to three hours for the first two to three days.
Apply heat to the back.
Heat can be used after the first two to three days of icing if the swelling has gone down.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications.
If a doctor recommends it, the victim of a back injury could take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Motrin to relieve the pain. Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants could be needed for severe pain. Any medications should be taken under a doctor’s supervision, because of the risks of drug interactions and side effects.
A belt or girdle could be helpful and provide extra support to the back. These devices should only be used after consulting with a doctor or physical therapist.
Physical therapy can help build up the back’s strength.
And there’s one more recommendation for home care for a back injury: do not stay in bed. Bed rest does not help back strains and sprains get better. Sometimes, extended rest (unless specifically ordered by a physician) can make the problems worse.
Recovering from a back strain or sprain could take a few days in mild cases to a few weeks or longer for more serious injuries. If these therapies do not work, back surgery or chronic pain therapies may be needed.
No matter what the severity of your injuries, we’re committed to helping you get the compensation you may be entitled to for your medical bills, lost wages, therapy, and emotional trauma.
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