Chronic lumbar strain, also known as back strain, is the most common type of back injury, usually caused by straining the muscles, tendons or ligaments along your spine. It is by far the leading cause of low back pain in the United States and can be the result of incorrect posture and poor technique when picking things up, especially heavy objects.
It can cause severe pain, obstructing an individual’s ability to perform normal activities and can be temporarily debilitating. For example, muscle spasms from a simple back strain can cause excruciating lower back pain that can make it difficult to walk or even stand.
Injuries to the spine, neck and/or back should never be ignored; after all, what begins as a minor strain can quickly turn into a chronic back injury if not properly treated. Most episodes of back injury can be successfully treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, naproxyn, and/or acetaminophen (tylenol), with ice packs for 24 hours, followed by heat therapy.
A mobility exercise program can be used to strengthen the core muscles (abdominal and back) to prevent the re-occurrence of back injury or strain. If lifting heavy objects is something you must do, back injury can be eliminated by stooping down with trunk upright, and accomplishing the lift by putting the greatest strain on the muscles of the legs and thighs. By applying ergonomic principles to work station design, equipment and worker movements, back injuries can be virtually eliminated in the workplace. Proper posture habits are another way to help prevent back injuries from re-occurring.
Regardless of your goals and methods for your back exercise program, you should use caution, as even a minor back strain can be painful and prevent you from being very active until it heals. Mild back strain is an inconvenience that can take up to two weeks to heal. Moderate to severe back strain is painful and can take as long as 6 weeks to heal.