Learning how to treat pulled lower back muscles is a very beneficial skill. The human back and its many muscles are quite prone to injury and strain. If you have ever lifted something a little too heavy or even improperly lifted something light, you are all too familiar with the pain and aggravation of an injured lower back. Many lower back injuries are caused by simple movements with no lifting or true straining required. If pain in your lower back has you down and out, it is time to learn to treat a pulled lower back muscle.
Items needed to treat pulled lower back muscles:
- Ice pack
- Heating pad or warm water bath
- Prescription strength or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers
- Health care provider, athletic trainer or physical therapist
Steps to treat pulled muscles in the lower back:
- Use a combination of cold and heat therapy. During the first twenty four hours, it is recommended that the injured person apply cold compresses or ice packs to reduce the swelling associated with the pulled muscle. Use a rotating cycle of applying or removing ice every twenty minutes. After the first twenty four hours, ice should be used less frequently and heat may be added to help the muscle relax and limit painful muscle spasms. Apply heat by either resting on a heating pad or by soaking in a warm water tub.
- Treat pain and inflammation with over the counter or prescription strength medications. Much of the pain of a pulled back muscle is caused by inflammation surrounding the muscle tissue. For mild to moderate pain, take over the counter Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or pain treatments, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium or acetaminophen. For severe pain or persistent muscle spasms, a physician may prescribe stronger pain medications, muscle relaxants or even administer a cortisone-containing shot directly into the muscle.
- Rest your lower back muscles. While resting your lower back may seem an obvious step to healing, finding a comfortable resting position may not be quite as simple. Lie flat with a pillow under your knees to reduce the pressure and weight strain on your tender lower back. It is important to remember that, while resting the back is important, complete rest should only be done for no more than one to two days. After a day or two, further complete resting actually cause the back muscles to weaken and can cause other medical issues such as blood clots in the legs.
- Relax. Tension and stress take a toll on healthy back muscles, so be sure to try some relaxation techniques to help both your injured muscles and your healthy ones to relax. Accept gentle massage, use heat therapy, or try meditation if you are having problems with muscle spasms or tension.
- Have the injury examined by a health professional if condition does not improve or new symptoms begin. Even a minor pulled lower back muscle is slow to heal and easy to aggravate, so your injury may not be relieved as quickly as you would hope. If your condition does not improve, worsens or you begin to develop additional symptoms or concerns, visit your medical care provider for advice and an examination. The injury may be more serious than you originally believed.
- Practice exercise therapy. The rehabilitation process in treating pulled lower back muscles begins long before the pain is completely gone. Those early, careful, gentle movements during non-resting times are important therapy for your recovering back muscles. As pain and inflammation decrease, add gentle, muscle strengthening exercises as well. Consult your medical caregiver, physical therapist or an exercise trainer for low impact, exercise options best suited to you and your injury recovery.