How do back sprains and strains form?

Your low back, or "lumbar spine," is made up of five bones that are stacked on top of each other and divided by a shock-absorbing disc. Your low back's muscles and ligaments provide a great deal of support. "Sprains" and "strains" are caused by these tissues being stretched too far or too hard, similar to how a rope frays when stretched beyond its natural capacity.

A "sprain" is when the thick, strong ligaments that hold your bones are damaged, but a "strain" is when the muscles or tendons that move your trunk are partially ruptured.

How can I heal from back pain?

Depending on the severity of your lower back injury, you may need to limit your activities for a while, particularly bending, twisting, and lifting, as well as any other actions that produce pain.

It is not in your best interests to stay in bed. Allow yourself to return to normal activities only as your symptoms permit.

A lumbar support belt might help reduce your discomfort for a short period of time. Sitting raises the risk of back sprains or sprains induced by sudden movements. It might be a good idea to take 10-second "micro-breaks" from workstations every 20 minutes. After an acute injury, apply ice for 15-20 minutes every hour. Heat may also be beneficial after a few days or for pain that has a more chronic basis. Make sure to tell your doctor about your individual condition and ask for specific ice/heat advice. For some folks, sports creams have offered partial relief.

Don't continue to let back pain hold you back.

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