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Acute Vs Chronic Back Strain

Back strains can be acute or chronic. Acute back strains, occurring suddenly, usually results from improper lifting techniques. Chronic (long term) back strains results from repetitive movements of the back, such as bending and turning through your trunk. In some cases, chronic back strains may result from a past acute back strain that has not been given some time to heal.

What You Can Do – Mild back strains may be managed with simple home remedies, such as applying ice, resting, and performing exercises.

1. Stop your activity and rest

At the time you feel sudden discomfort or pain at your lower back, you should stop your activity and take some time to rest. Your body is telling you that something is wrong. Continuing your activity or work through your pain, especially those that require you to bend your back and lift heavy weights, may lead to further tissue damage. Avoid movements that worsen your symptoms, but do still continue performing simple tasks without adding stress to your back.

2. Apply ice

Put an ice pack on your injured back for 20 minutes. Remember to wrap the pack with towel before applying. Continue ice application every three to four hours for the first two to three days following your injury or until swelling subsides. Icing your injured back can help decrease your pain and minimize or prevent swelling. Avoid applying any form of heat for acute injuries or when swelling is still present.

3. Exercise

Performing exercises play an important role in your full recovery from your back strain. Improving your back flexibility and strength may help prevent future back strains. A doctor of Chiropractic can help you create a comprehensive exercise program based on your level of fitness and previous work activities.

When to Consult Your Doctor:

  • Your symptoms worsen in spite of home treatments.
  • You experience severe symptoms at the time of your injury.
  • You experience numbness or pain that travels down your lower limb.
  • You have constant back pain.
  • You experience low back pain without traumatic or apparent cause.
  • You are unsure of the severity of your injury.