Lumbosacral strain, also known as low back strain, is a common injury that affects the muscles and ligaments of the lower back, specifically the area between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the legs. This type of strain typically occurs when the muscles and ligaments in the lower back are stretched or torn beyond their normal limits, often as a result of sudden or repetitive movements, lifting heavy objects or twisting the back awkwardly.
Symptoms of lumbosacral strain can include pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the lower back, as well as muscle spasms and difficulty moving or standing up straight.
Causes of LS Strain
Low back strain can be caused by:
- Extreme physical exertion
- Bending or crouching repeatedly
- Lifting heavy objects suddenly
It can also be caused by
- Emotional stress
- Improper posture
- Being overweight
- Sitting in the same position for long periods of time
- Even a severe cough can result in low back strain
What's the Treatment for Low Back Strain?
Low back strain can be a painful and depressing injury. But the good news is that most cases heal on their own, given time. To speed up the healing, you can do :
- Ice fomentation for your back to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you injure yourself. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. You can also ice your back after physical activity.
- Apply heat to your back - but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your back only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle. Or you could just soak in a hot bath.
- Take over the counter analgesics or NSAID’s recommended by your doctor. Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants are sometimes necessary.
- Use support. Ask your doctor or therapist first, but consider getting a brace to add support to your back. Use it only short-term or as support for heavy or repetitive lifting.
- Get physical therapy to build up strength, if your doctor recommends it. Do not stay in bed or on the couch all day. That will make it worse.
- Maintain good muscle tone
No matter what people tell you, bed rest for more than 3 days doesn't work. People used to think that the best treatment for low back strain was to lie on your back until you felt better. But studies show it doesn't help. In fact, after taking it easy for a day or two, you should usually start light physical activities.