Low back strain is a very common injury, and is often associated with heavy lifting, although there are many other types of movement that can produce a strain of the lower back muscles, such as the unavoidable twisting in sports like golf and tennis, and direct contusions (hits) to the back. Car accidents are frequently a cause of low back injury and strain. This is one of the injuries that a seat belt does not necessarily prevent, since there is often violent flexion of the lower spine, with the belt as the pivot point. It is also one of the leading consequences of industrial, work-related injuries, especially in those who must lift, turn, throw, and reach with some frequency. The lower spine is actually centrally related to nearly every movement we make. It balances the entire upper body on the hip joints and facilitates the entire panoply of movement of the arms, chest, and head.
Types of Lower Back Injuries
When the muscles are stretched, the injury is called a strain. When the ligaments that hold the muscles to the lower back vertebrae are torn, the more serious “sprain” occurs.
Lower Back Injury Treatment
Sometimes a physician is comfortable making the diagnosis of back muscle strain, and X-rays are not done, or they are deferred until a trial of conservative treatment has been tried. More often, X-rays are performed to detect the unexpected fracture or other less common explanations for the pain. In most cases, the diagnosis is fairly straightforward. There was a sudden movement, with or without lifting, followed by excruciating low back and/or buttock pain, unresponsive to rest and mild pain medications.
In most cases, the treatment is the same, requiring rest, pain medications, muscle relaxers, and physical therapy. On occasion, the physician will elect to inject anti-inflammatory steroids directly into the area of pain, which may provide dramatic relief. Sometimes a back brace or elastic support is used to restrict the movement of the muscles while healing occurs. The pain is often very severe and debilitating but is confined to the lower back and the buttock muscles. If there is a weakness in the legs, or bowel and bladder problems, one must quickly assess the possibility of a slipped disc and nerve injury, which must be considered a real emergency.
Recovery of Lower Back Injury
Presuming that the lower back injury is localized, one can count on getting better over a few days, or no more than 3 or 4 weeks. Generally, several days of work are missed after a back strain. In fact, back strain is one of the leading causes of missed work-days. Those who are too eager to return to their regular work often pay the high price of having to repeat all the steps noted above. Fortunately, the back is one of the more resilient muscle groups of the body. If care and caution are used, one can expect a full recovery.
Contact a Lawyer About Your Lower Back Injury
If you have suffered a lower back injury as a result of a car accident or negligence of others, Parker Scheer recommends that you consult with a personal injury lawyer and evaluate your case. For your free confidential case review click here and receive a response from one of our attorneys within hours. If you prefer, you can also telephone our offices in Boston seven days a week at toll-free.
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