02 September 2004

Muscle strains in the back

When you strain or “tear” a muscle in your back or it means that the muscle has gone into spasm, restricting blood flow and causing weakness.


If you have suffered a direct blow to a muscle in your back, especially one near to a bone, it must be treated as a contusion. Contusion symptoms include:

  • A sudden excruciating pain in the back.
  • Difficulty moving.
  • Possible swelling or bruising around the ruptured area.

There are three different grades of severity when it comes to muscle strain injuries in the back:

Grade one strains

  • Tightness in the back
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Little swelling

What can be done?

  • Heat up the affected area with a hot water bottle or a heat retainer
  • You don’t have to stop training (unless it get worse), but take it easy during for a week or two
  • Joint manipulation techniques
  • Follow a rehabilitation and strengthening programme drawn up by a specialist

Grade two strains

  • You can’t walk properly
  • Sudden twinges of pain during daily activities
  • Swelling may become apparent
  • If you press the affected area, it will hurts

What can be done?

  • Lots of rest
  • Follow a rehab plan involving mobility, stretching and strengthening exercises drawn up by a specialist

Grade three strains

  • You can’t walk properly
  • Severe pain
  • Bad swelling will appear immediately
  • Static contractions may be painful and could produce a bulge in the muscle
  • You will be out of action for three to twelve weeks

What can be done?

  • R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, elevate)
  • Make use of crutches)
  • Joint manipulation techniques)
  • Surgeons may have to operate)
  • Note: In all three grades the following can help:

    • Consult a sports injury specialist immediately
    • Sports massage is very important and effective can speed up recovery and is very important
    • Ultrasound and electrical stimulation
    • Follow a rehabilitation programme prescribed by a specialist

    Other related articles:
    Painkillers (Paracetamol)
    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    COX-2 specific inhibitors
    Different Steroids
    Cortisone injections



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