Lumbar sprains and muscle strains of the lower back are common causes of back pain. When the muscle fibers are abnormally stretched or torn in the lower back, the result is a strained low back muscle, called a lumbar strain. When the tough bands of tissue, the ligaments, that hold bones together, are stretched or torn from their attachments, the painful result is a lumbar sprain. Both injuries have similar symptoms so the two types of injuries are often grouped together by physicians under the term, musculoligamentous injuries of the lumbar spine.
The ligaments in your back, which can be injured, are similar to those in your ankle, which can be damaged by a sprain. Surprisingly, despite the discomfort from a sprained back, people are much more likely to continue walking around than they are with a sprained ankle. This is mainly due to the difficulty encountered in trying to support injured back ligaments with a firm binding as can be done with an ankle. This is important as the danger of damage to the ligament is much greater in the back than in any other part of the body.
Causes Of Lumbar Sprains And Strains
Improper lifting or bending
• Work situations are often responsible when poor techniques in lifting, bending, twisting activities are used. Serious back conditions can be the result.
• Backs are particularly subject to strain with any kind of racquet sports or activities that require exaggerated movement of the spine.
Poor muscle conditioning
• Toned muscles that are in good condition are stronger and less prone to injury. Strong body core muscles help prevent back injury and support the spine.
• Every extra pound that is carried around adds to the strain placed on the back. Abdominal weight can cause a sway back posture, making the body unbalanced and the back more prone to injury.
• Standing slumped over or slouched causes the entire weight of the body to pull against the ligaments of the pelvis and lower back.. Years of this can cause these ligaments to become stretched and weakened so they can not properly control the joints. Years of poor posture can lead to back discomfort from the simple act of trying to stand erect!
• When forced to stand for long periods of time, most people unconsciously shift their weight to one side and usually favor standing on a certain side. This simple act causes spinal distortion and postural misalignment which can eventually result in a serious, sudden, back injury.
• Experts have proven that nicotine blocks the distribution of oxygen and nutrients to the cells, including those of the muscles. Waste products build up in muscle tissue and a fatigued muscle, depleted of oxygen, is much more prone to injury.
Most back injuries are due to injuries of the muscles or ligaments and are the second most common cause of missed work days, only following the common cold. Most will heal within a month or so but any persistent back pain should be evaluated by a physician.