for Patients

Back Strain Causes and Treatment

Overview

Back strain is an injury to the soft tissue of your back, specifically the muscles, tendons and ligaments that keep your spine in place. Painful back strain symptoms result from soft tissue injures that cause your spine to move out of place. Coastal Spine has a variety of non-surgical back strain treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and injections.

Causes

Back strain result from several different causes:

  • Overexertion: Straining your muscles too hard, either through exercise or by lifting heavy objects, can lead you to “pull” a muscle, resulting in tiny tears on the muscle fibers
  • Injury: If you fall or are in an accident, your tendons, ligaments or muscles in the back can be strained, torn or inflamed by the sudden movement
  • Poor posture: Slumping or hunching over can put pressure on the muscles or cause knots to form in the muscles of the back, which affect their ability to hold the spine in place
  • Obesity: Extra weight increases the work the soft tissue in the back must do to keep the spine stable, which can result in back pain

Diagnosis

The first step toward diagnosing back and low back strain is a physical exam by one of our physicians.

Back Strain Treatment

We have experience providing several back strain treatments. These include:

  • Physical therapy. Often, back strain symptoms can be treated by strengthening the muscles of the back and core through physical therapy and exercise. This treatment also includes stretching exercises that help relieve pain
  • Medication. We may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxers to reduce the pain and swelling associated with back strain
  • Injections. We may also administer cortisone injections to relieve pain
  • Typically, Coastal Spine does not prescribe narcotics for this type of injury