Strains and Sprains: Two Common Lower Back Injuries

back pain

Millions of people suffer from lower back pain every year.  The pain can range from mild to severe and can, for some people, have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.  Two common lower spine injuries include strains and sprains. If you’re not sure what the difference is between the two, here is what you need to know.

Back Strain 

Back strains are related to the muscle tissue around your spinal area. When the muscle tissues tear or is damaged, the pain can be acute or chronic, mild or severe. It can affect your legs, intestinal tract, mobility, and your muscle function in your lower lumbar area.

There are a variety of causes of back strain. Winter is a popular time for this type of injury because people tend to lift more heavy objects, especially during the holidays. Other common causes during the winter season include shoveling snow, falling, pushing heavy objects, poor posture, and severe coughing. Back strain can also be caused by obesity, moving or turning the wrong way, and stress.

Strains are painful, making it difficult to move. The area can become stiff and weak; pain and numbness can be felt in the immediate area but it can also radiate into the legs. Once the tissue has been damaged, it’s important to rest the area and apply ice.

Visiting your chiropractor is also important to treat your strain. The damaged muscles cannot support the spine adequately, which can cause nerve damage, impaired mobility and for some, depression.  Chiropractors can properly diagnose the injury and help the body heal naturally so that the spinal area is not further damaged after the injury heals. Through gentle manipulation and daily exercise, your chiropractic doctor will treat your spinal strain so that you can enjoy your life pain-free.

Back Sprain

Unlike strains, sprains affect the connective tissue in between the backbones or spinal column. Like strains, sprains cause pain, decreased function or movement, weakness, and radiating pain or numbness.

Like strains, sprains are caused by improper movement, lifting or moving heavy objects, obesity, and stress. Other causes include repetitive movements that over stretch the tissues, weakened muscles that cannot adequately support the spine, poor posture or stomach lying in bed, accidents, and sports.

Symptoms of a back sprain include pain and stiffness, loss of mobility and strength, and radiating discomfort.

Like strains, sprains are best treated with rest and ice.  A visit to your chiropractor as early as possible will also help with proper diagnosis and treatment of the injury. Through questions and image testing, chiropractors can determine what injury you have and how much damage has been done to the area. Your chiropractic doctor can help you recover from your injury through gentle manipulation of the area. They can also help you with home exercises that will help your spinal region heal and strengthen the weakened tissues.

Sprains and strains are very common lower back injuries, especially during the winter season. By taking care of your health through diet and exercise, and visiting your chiropractor regularly, you can reduce the risk of injuring your lower back area. At Stephen Nutt Chiropractic, we promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle to help reduce the risk of back injury.