Back Injuries: Back Sprains
What is a lower back sprain?
A lower back strain is violent overstretching of one or more ligaments in the sacroiliac region of the spine. It is a significant back injury. When the ligament is overstretched, it becomes tense and gives way at its weakest point, either where it attaches to bone or within the ligament itself.
How do you prevent lower back sprain?
Lower back sprains can be reduced with a long-term strengthening and conditioning appropriate for your sport or athletic activity. A proper warm up before practice or competition is important. Tape or use elastic wraps or braces on vulnerable joints if you have been injured previously.
What types of lower back sprains are there?
Back sprains are of three types;
- A mild or (grade I) strain, which is tearing of some ligament fibers, with associated muscle spasm. There is no loss of function.
- A moderate or (grade II) sprain, which is a rupture of a portion of the ligament, resulting in some loss of function.
- A severe or (grade III sprain), which is a complete rupture of the ligament or complete separation of the ligament from the bone. There is total loss of function. A severe sprain may require surgical repair.
What musculature is involved in a lower back sprain?
The specific body parts involved are the ligaments of the sacroiliac region and also soft tissues surrounding the sprain, including nerves, periosteum (covering of bone), blood vessels and muscle. The sacrum (spinal region) and ilium (bones of the pelvis).
How do I know if I’ve sprained my lower back?
The signs and symptoms of a lower back sprain are:
- Severe pain at the time of injury, radiation of pain into the buttocks or hip, but no lower.
- A feeling of popping or tearing in the sacroiliac region.
- Tenderness and swelling at the injury site.
- Bruising (sometimes) that appears soon after injury.
Am I at risk for a lower back sprain?
The risk of sustaining a lower back sprain increases with contact sports such as football or wrestling. Weightlifting also increases the risk. A sudden movement while one leg is in front and the other is behind . A previous lower back injury can also increase the risk. Obesity or poor muscle conditioning, especially in the low back, abdomen, buttock and hip also increase the risk. Inadequate protection from equipment also increases the risk.
What is the proper care for a lower back sprain?
The appropriate health care for an lower back sprain is a doctor’s diagnosis, physical therapy (moderate or severe sprain). Your own observation of symptoms is proper care. Your medical history and an exam by a doctor is also proper care. X-rays of the lower spine, hip and pelvis to rule out fractures is also proper care.
Are there any complications with lower back sprains?
Some possible complications can be:
- Prolonged healing time if usual activity is resumed too soon.
- Proneness to repeated sacroiliac injury.
- Inflammation at the ligament attachment to bone, (periostitis).
- Sometimes, prolonged disability.
- Unstable or arthritic sacroiliac joint following repeated injury.
How long does a lower back sprain take to heal?
The average healing times are:
- Mild sprains — 2 to 4 weeks
- Moderate sprain — 4 to 6 weeks
- Severe sprains — 6 to 10 weeks.
The complications listed previously are more likely to occur in the case of repeated injuries.
What treatment should I use for a lower back sprain?
Treatment should consist of following your doctor’s instructions. Some supplemental first aids are the “R.I.C.E.” instructions: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (if possible). Don’t move the person until a litter or spine board can be obtained for safe transport. If the doctor does not apply tape or elastic bandage then it is helpful, as continuing care, to use an ice pack 3 or 4 times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Place ice chips or cubes in a plastic bag. Wrap the bag in a moist towel, and place it over the injured area. After the first 72 hours, apply heat instead of ice if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, showers, heating pads or heat liniments and ointments. Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
What medications, if any, are recommended?
Medication for minor discomfort can be nonprescription medicines such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Topical liniments and ointments can be used. Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants, stronger pain relievers or even an injection of a long-acting local anesthetic to reduce pain. Injections of a corticosteroid, such as triamcinolone, to reduce inflammation are recommended.
What activity is proper during rehabilitation and recovery?
You can begin daily rehabilitation exercises when supportive wrapping is no longer needed and with the blessing of your doctor. Use ice massage for 10 minutes before and after exercise. Fill a large styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of the foam from the top so the ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle about the size of a softball.
Call your Doctor if:
Be certain to call your doctor if you have symptoms of a moderate or severe elbow sprain or a mild sprain persist longer than 2 weeks. Call your doctor if pain or swelling worsens despite treatment or if either of the following occurs with casting or splinting, tight bracing or taping: Pain, numbness or coldness below the injury, dusky, blue or grey toenails. Call your doctor if any of the following occurs after surgery: Increased pain, swelling, redness, drainage or bleeding in the surgical area. Call your doctor if you notice any signs of infection (headache, muscle aches, dizziness or a general ill feeling with fever)or if any new, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.
How does the Bodyguard™ Back Brace reduce some of the complications of lower back sprains?
The Bodyguard™ Back brace is designed to absorb and spread lower back strain, raise muscle and ligament temperature, add comfort, stability and performance enhancement to the lower back area. The Bodyguard™ can absorb direct impact and protect a sprained or bruised lower back.
For chronic and recurring lower back sprain sufferers, it reduces the incidence of pain and swelling occasioned by use, while adding stability and performance enhancement.
As with all Bodyguard™ garments, it provides compression, support, muscle and tendon heat circulation, strain distribution and impact absorption.