Back Sprains and Treatment
This is the most common cause of back pain and is often medically referred to as “Simple back pain” and when you are suffering from it there is nothing “simple” about it!
Back strain can vary in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that leaves you quite debilitated. This knotting up or spasm of the muscle is the body’s’ way of preventing further damage to the muscle.
It can happen at any time and for many reasons:-
Improper lifting technique
Carrying heavy shopping or lifting children or an elderly relative
Twisting, a sudden pivoting movement
Pushing or pulling
Sleeping in an awkward position
Coughing or sneezing
Prolonged bad posture
Fortunately this kind of injury will usually resolve within a week to 10 days. Once the pain has subsided gentle rehabilitation is suggested without immediately returning to the action which initially prompted the injury.
Self Care Treatment of Back Strain
Heat and Cold Treatment
Please note that seeking medical advice prior to commencing heat or ice treatment is advised.
There still seems to be conflicting research with regard to the benefits of cold treatments with regard to low back pain although the evidence from Cochrane seems to support heat treatment as a relaxing short term pain relief therapy.
From information I have gathered it seems to be that applying ice packs to the affected area within the first 36 hours can cause the blood vessels to be reduced thereby reducing the blood flow; thus reducing the bleeding and swelling, which does sound as if it would be beneficial. Heat should not be used within this period of time as that would be counterproductive. The ice pack or frozen peas can be applied to the area wrapped in a towel to ensure that no frozen product comes into contact with the skin. This treatment can be done every 20 minutes and if you start as soon as the injury has occurred with a 20 min on and 20 min off routine this can greatly reduce the injury and improve the healing time.
Heat therapy can be used after this time hours to increase blood flow and oxygen to the affected area this will help with the healing process and reduce the muscle spasms. You can use a hot water bottle again wrapped up in a towel to prevent burns to rest against the affected area.
It is important to note that neither hot packs nor ice packs should be applied directly to the skin they should be wrapped in either a light cloth or towel to prevent any burns to the area and it goes without saying that if it is too hot against the area remove it.
Positioning for Back Relief
One of the best position for relief from back strain is to carefully lie on your back on the floor with pillows under your knees for support. If you bring your knees up with them bent your back will flatten into the floor and the pressure you are feeling should improve. You will probably feel like staying in this position indefinitely but the bad news is that mobility is the key to healing this sprain.