Lower back strain – Lower back strain is a leading cause of back pain when bending over. When you strain your lower back, massive pressure is exerted on the area and causes muscles and ligaments to stretch excessively. The strain on the area may also cause inflammation that can lead to muscle spasms. Treatment
Resting your back for one to three days may help reduce pain Massage and therapies such as ice and heat or electric muscle-stimulation therapies Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen Physical therapy exercises strengthen the back and help prevent other injuries
- 1 How do you relieve lower back pain from bending forward?
- 2 Can a chiropractor fix a herniated disc?
- 3 What happens if you let a herniated disc go untreated?
- 4 Is low back pain a red flag?
- 5 Why is it hard to straighten my back after bending over?
- 6 Can you hurt your back from bending over?
How do you relieve lower back pain from bending forward?
Lower back strain – Share on Pinterest Bending over increases the strain on a person’s back, which can result in pain. Lower back strain is a common cause of back pain when bending over. The position can put significant pressure on the lower back, causing the muscles and ligaments to stretch excessively.
A strain in the area can also cause inflammation, which can lead to muscle spasms. Other symptoms Stiffness in the lower back, muscle spasms, difficulty maintaining an upright posture, and a limited range of motion can all indicate a lower back strain. Treatments Resting the back for 1–3 days can help reduce muscle pain, as can taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs ).
Some over-the-counter (OTC) options include ibuprofen and naproxen. Massage, applying ice and heat, and using electrical muscle stimulation therapies may also help. Physical therapy exercises can strengthen the back and help prevent further injuries.
Why does my lower back hurt when I bend back?
The lowdown – If you experience lower back pain when arching backward, it could mean anything from a strained muscle to a spine fracture. Although you can manage some symptoms at home, you should also consider contacting a relevant health professional, particularly if the pain is not getting better.
How long does a lower back strain last?
Recovery and Outcome – Back muscle strains typically heal with time, many within a few days, and most within 3 to 4 weeks. Most patients with mild or moderate lumbar strains make a full recovery and are free of symptoms within days, weeks, or possibly months.
What is a herniated disc in the back?
The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine in the back are cushioned by discs, These discs are round, like small pillows, with a tough, outer layer (annulus) that surrounds the nucleus. Located between each of the vertebra in the spinal column, discs act as shock absorbers for the spinal bones.
A herniated disc (also called bulged, slipped or ruptured) is a fragment of the disc nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus, into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the annulus. Discs that become herniated usually are in an early stage of degeneration. The spinal canal has limited space, which is inadequate for the spinal nerve and the displaced herniated disc fragment.
Due to this displacement, the disc presses on spinal nerves, often producing pain, which may be severe. Herniated discs can occur in any part of the spine. Herniated discs are more common in the lower back (lumbar spine), but also occur in the neck (cervical spine).
- The area in which pain is experienced depends on what part of the spine is affected.
- A single excessive strain or injury may cause a herniated disc.
- However, disc material degenerates naturally as one ages, and the ligaments that hold it in place begin to weaken.
- As this degeneration progresses, a relatively minor strain or twisting movement can cause a disc to rupture.
Certain individuals may be more vulnerable to disc problems and, as a result, may suffer herniated discs in several places along the spine. Research has shown that a predisposition for herniated discs may exist in families with several members affected.
- Symptoms vary greatly, depending on the position of the herniated disc and the size of the herniation.
- If the herniated disc is not pressing on a nerve, the patient may experience a low backache or no pain at all.
- If it is pressing on a nerve, there may be pain, numbness or weakness in the area of the body to which the nerve travels.
Typically, a herniated disc is preceded by an episode of low back pain or a long history of intermittent episodes of low back pain. Lumbar spine (lower back): Sciatica /Radiculopathy frequently results from a herniated disc in the lower back. Pressure on one or several nerves that contribute to the sciatic nerve can cause pain, burning, tingling and numbness that radiates from the buttock into the leg and sometimes into the foot.
- Usually, one side (left or right) is affected.
- This pain often is described as sharp and electric shock-like.
- It may be more severe with standing, walking or sitting.
- Straightening the leg on the affected side can often make the pain worse.
- Along with leg pain, one may experience low back pain; however, for acute sciatica the pain in the leg is often worse than the pain in the low back.
Cervical spine (neck): Cervical radiculopathy is the symptoms of nerve compression in the neck, which may include dull or sharp pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades, pain that radiates down the arm to the hand or fingers or numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm.
- Limit activities for 2 to 3 days. Walking as tolerated is encouraged, along with an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, if not contraindicated for the patient. Bedrest is not recommended.
- Primary care evaluation during this time may lead to considering other non-surgical treatments noted below, such as physical therapy.
- Radiographic imaging, such as an MRI, is not recommended by the American College of Radiology, unless symptoms have been present for six weeks.
- Referral to a spine specialist, such as a neurosurgeon, is also recommended if symptoms persist for greater than four weeks. A specialist will often want advanced imaging, such as the MRI, completed prior to the appointment.
- Urgent evaluation and imaging is recommended if there are symptoms of significant leg/arm weakness, loss of feeling in the genital/rectal region, no control of urine or stool, a history of metastatic cancer, significant recent infection or fever AND radiculopathy or a fall/injury that caused the pain. Imaging should also be considered earlier for findings of progressive neurologic deficit (such as progressive weakness) on exam.
Testing modalities are listed below. The most common imaging for this condition is MRI. Plain x-rays of the affected region are often added to complete the evaluation of the vertebra. Please note, a disc herniation cannot be seen on plain x-rays. CT scan and myelogram were more commonly used before MRI, but now are infrequently ordered as the initial diagnostic imaging, unless special circumstances exist that warrant their use.
- X-ray: Application of radiation to produce a film or picture of a part of the body can show the structure of the vertebrae and the outline of the joints. X-rays of the spine are obtained to search for other potential causes of pain, i.e. tumors, infections, fractures, etc.
- Computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan): A diagnostic image created after a computer reads X-rays; can show the shape and size of the spinal canal, its contents and the structures around it.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) : A diagnostic test that produces 3D images of body structures using powerful magnets and computer technology; can show the spinal cord, nerve roots and surrounding areas as well as enlargement, degeneration and tumors.
- Myelogram: An X-ray of the spinal canal following injection of a contrast material into the surrounding cerebrospinal fluid spaces; can show pressure on the spinal cord or nerves due to herniated discs, bone spurs or tumors.
- Electromyogram and Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG/NCS) : These tests measure the electrical impulse along nerve roots, peripheral nerves and muscle tissue. This will indicate whether there is ongoing nerve damage, if the nerves are in a state of healing from a past injury or whether there is another site of nerve compression. This test is infrequently ordered.
Non-Surgical Treatments The initial treatment for a herniated disc is usually conservative and nonsurgical. A doctor may advise the patient to maintain a low, painless activity level for a few days to several weeks. This helps the spinal nerve inflammation to decrease.
Bedrest is not recommended. A herniated disc is frequently treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, if the pain is only mild to moderate. An epidural steroid injection may be performed utilizing a spinal needle under X-ray guidance to direct the medication to the exact level of the disc herniation.
The doctor may recommend physical therapy. The therapist will perform an in-depth evaluation, which, combined with the doctor’s diagnosis, dictates a treatment specifically designed for patients with herniated discs. Therapy may include pelvic traction, gentle massage, ice and heat therapy, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation and stretching exercises.
Pain medication and muscle relaxants may also be beneficial in conjunction with physical therapy. Surgery A doctor may recommend surgery if conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy and medications, do not reduce or end the pain altogether. Doctors discuss surgical options with patients to determine the proper procedure.
As with any surgery, a patient’s age, overall health and other issues are taken into consideration. The benefits of surgery should be weighed carefully against its risks. Although a large percentage of patients with herniated discs report significant pain relief after surgery, there is no guarantee that surgery will help.
- Radicular pain limits normal activity or impairs quality of life
- Progressive neurological deficits develop, such as leg weakness and/or numbness
- Loss of normal bowel and bladder functions
- Difficulty standing or walking
- Medication and physical therapy are ineffective
- The patient is in reasonably good health
Lumbar Spine Surgery Lumbar laminotomy is a procedure often utilized to relieve leg pain and sciatica caused by a herniated disc. It is performed through a small incision down the center of the back over the area of the herniated disc. During this procedure, a portion of the lamina may be removed.
Once the incision is made through the skin, the muscles are moved to the side so that the surgeon can see the back of the vertebrae. A small opening is made between the two vertebrae to gain access to the herniated disc. After the disc is removed through a discectomy, the spine may need to be stabilized.
Spinal fusion often is performed in conjunction with a laminotomy. In more involved cases, a laminectomy may be performed. In artificial disc surgery, an incision is made through the abdomen, and the affected disc is removed and replaced. Only a small percentage of patients are candidates for artificial disc surgery.
- The patient must have disc degeneration in only one disc, between L4 and L5, or L5 and S1 (the first sacral vertebra).
- The patient must have undergone at least six months of treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication or wearing a back brace, without showing improvement.
- The patient must be in overall good health with no signs of infection, osteoporosis or arthritis.
If there is degeneration affecting more than one disc or significant leg pain, the patient is not a candidate for this surgery. Cervical Spine Surgery The medical decision to perform the operation from the front of the neck (anterior) or the back of the neck (posterior) is influenced by the exact location of the herniated disc, as well as the experience and preference of the surgeon.
A portion of the lamina may be removed through a laminotomy, followed by removal of the disc herniation for the posterior approach. Patients, who are a candidate for posterior surgery, frequently do not need surgical fusion. For anterior surgery, after the disc is removed, the spine needs to be stabilized.
This is accomplished using a cervical plate, interbody device and screws (instrumentation). In a select group of candidates, artificial cervical disc is an option vs. fusion. The doctor will give specific instructions after surgery and usually prescribe pain medication.
1. KnowYourBack.org. (2019). Herniated Lumbar Disc. https://www.spine.org/KnowYourBack/Conditions/DegenerativeConditions/HerniatedLumbarDisc
The AANS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced in these patient fact sheets. This information provided is an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific neurosurgical advice or assistance should consult his or her neurosurgeon, or locate one in your area through the AANS’ Find a Board-certified Neurosurgeon online tool.
What does a lower back tear feel like?
Common Symptoms of a Pulled Back Muscle – Symptoms to expect from a pulled lower back muscle—or any type of lower back strain—typically include:
Dull, achy low back pain. Strained muscles usually feel sore, tight, or achy. Pain that feels hot, tingling, or electric is more likely caused by an irritated nerve root, not a pulled muscle. Intensified pain with movement. Low back strain typically worsens with specific movements that activate the affected muscles. For example, there may be a flare-up of pain when getting up from a seated position, when bending forward, or when first getting out of bed in the morning. Pain that is localized in the low back. Pain is usually concentrated in the lower back. It may also be felt in the buttocks and/or hips, as these muscles help support the low back. Rarely does pain travel down the legs and into the calves and feet, as in cases of sciatica,
Should I stretch my strained lower back?
Start stretching – You can begin stretching after an injury as soon as possible, as long as it is within a comfortable pain-free range. Stretching should be a mild to moderate sensation without pain. “Movement and stretching early leads to a better recovery,” says Penny.
There are a variety of stretches you can do: Knee to chest (lie on your back and pull one knee to your chest at a time), thoracic extension (lie on your back on top of a foam roller or rolled towel) or the piriformis stretch. Do this by lying on your back with feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Pull the right knee up to your chest, grasp it with your left hand and pull it toward your left shoulder.
Hold the stretch. Repeat with left knee and pull it toward your right shoulder. Or try kneeling hip flexor stretching. Kneel on one knee, keeping your chest up tall and lower back flat. Gently lean your body forward into the stretch, and feel this in the front of your kneeling hip.
Can you walk with a lower back strain?
Walk At A Moderate Pace The simple movement of walking is one of the best things we can do for chronic lower back pain. Ten to fifteen minutes of walking twice a day will help ease lower back pain. Substitute this activity for a more vigorous type of exercise if you prefer and/or are able.
Can a chiropractor fix a herniated disc?
According to Spine Universe, chiropractic care is a non-surgical option for herniated disc treatment. This makes choosing a chiropractor to address problems with a herniated disc a viable option if you want to avoid undergoing any surgical procedures.
What happens if you let a herniated disc go untreated?
What Happens if You Let a Herniated Disc go Untreated? – As we mentioned above, some people can wait a few months and the body will at least reduce the size of the compound so that it only bothers the nerve in certain instances. In the meantime, you suffer a great deal of pain, spend weeks lying in bed, and your back never really feels the same.
For some people, symptoms become more severe over time, not better. If left untreated, however, there can also be serious complications. An untreated herniated disc can lead to permanent nerve damage. While not common, a herniated disc can cut off the impulses to the nerve, causing you to lose feeling in your lower back, legs, and/or feet.
Some people lose all feelings in their genital area and buttocks, Others lose their bowel or bladder control, While it is true that the above complications are not common, they do happen. Why spend weeks in substantial pain when treatment can provide you with pain relief and faster healing?
How do you check if you have a herniated disc?
Imaging tests –
X-rays. Plain X-rays don’t detect herniated disks, but they can rule out other causes of back pain, such as an infection, tumor, spinal alignment issues or a broken bone. CT scan. A CT scanner takes a series of X-rays from different directions and then combines them to create cross-sectional images of the spinal column and the structures around it. MRI. Radio waves and a strong magnetic field are used to create images of the body’s internal structures. This test can be used to confirm the location of the herniated disk and to see which nerves are affected. Myelogram. A dye is injected into the spinal fluid before a CT scan is taken. This test can show pressure on the spinal cord or nerves due to multiple herniated disks or other conditions.
Is low back pain a red flag?
Other constitutional symptoms – Perform a complete review of systems on all patients presenting with low back pain, giving special attention to those with unexplained weight loss, night pain, or pain at rest. In general, unintentional weight loss requires a workup for malignancy; however, when it is accompanied by back pain it is particularly worrisome for metastatic disease.
Why is it hard to straighten my back after bending over?
Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 16, 2014 – The motion of bending forward is incredibly common. You probably bend over more than you realize to pick something up or set something down. Because this is such a regular task, back pain in this area can be a big obstacle that impedes on a person’s daily life.
Bulging Disc & Pinched Nerves. Spinal Arthritis,, Stenosis of the Spine.
All of these factors can lead to pain in the cervical or lumbar region of the spine.
Can you hurt your back from bending over?
You probably don’t put too much thought into how you bend over. When you drop something, you likely reach down and pick it up without hesitation. However, the way we bend over could be the source of back pain, “Believe it or not, there is a wrong way to bend over,” said Geisinger neurosurgeon Mauricio Campos-Benitez, MD.
In the West, we tend to fold at the stomach when we bend over, creating a ‘C’ shape. This type of bend puts a lot of pressure on our spines and spinal disks.” Spinal disks are fragile and aren’t designed to handle a lot of pressure. Bending over incorrectly for many years can cause slipped and herniated disks—both of which can contribute to chronic back pain and could require surgery to repair.
The right way to bend over Outside of Europe and America, people tend to bend over differently. They do what experts call a “hip hinge.” “The hip hinge is a type of bend that keeps your back straight and parallel to the ground,” said Campos-Benitez. “The bend is all done in your hips, which are better suited to handle the stress of bending over than your back.
During a hip hinge, your back actually relaxes.” Hip hinging stretches your hamstrings, which is helpful because many people in the U.S. report having tight hamstrings. As a result, yoga instructors also recommend hip hinging, both as a stretch and a way to spare your back while bending over. How to hip hinge “Hip hinging is easy, and it may actually feel more natural than the way you’re bending over now,” said Campos-Benitez.
“In fact, toddlers tend to hip hinge naturally. But as we age, we relearn how to bend over from our parents, who also bent in a ‘C’ shape.” To do a hip hinge, stand with your feet about a foot apart with your toes pointed slightly to each side. While keeping your back straight, bend your knees, move your pelvis back through your legs and bend at the hip.
- Once you’re bent down, your back should be almost parallel to the ground.
- Then simply reverse the movement to stand back up.
- Other causes of back pain After changing the way you bend over, if you find that you’re still having back pain, there could be another cause.
- Many cases of back injury come from trauma or poor posture,” said Campos-Benitez.
“Think about if you did anything to hurt your back or neck. It could’ve been something significant, or maybe you slept the wrong way. Reflect on your posture throughout the day. Think about when you slouch and try to consciously sit up straight.” One common cause for neck and back pain is looking at your computer and your phone.
When we look at our phones or computers, we tend to look down and crane our back and neck. Try setting your phone and your computer where it doesn’t cause you to strain your neck. If you still have frequent back pain, talk to your doctor. They can determine if it is something more serious, like scoliosis or a torn muscle.
Dr. Mauricio Campos-Benitez is a neurosurgeon at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre and at Geisinger Hazleton. To schedule an appointment, call 800-275-6401.
Can barely stand up lower back pain?
Potential Reasons for Lower Back Pain When You Can’t Stand Up Straight – Although there are a number of reasons that back problems may develop, three of the most common causes of lower back pain that makes it difficult to stand up straight are back sprains or strains, sciatica, and a herniated disc.