Lumbar Back Strain (Low Back Pain)

peer review

This content has been reviewed and approved by Kathy Doubleday DPT, OCS.

Back strain is a generalized term for injury to the soft tissue that supports the spine. This can include muscle, tendon, or ligament damage. It is likely that joints or disc(s) of the spine may also be affected.

Abdominal muscles, buttock muscles, and obliques all help to control the motion of the spine. Tendons attach the muscles of the back to the vertebrae.

Damage to any of these tissues can create back pain and instability in the spine.

A movement that causes forceful extension of the back, common to sports or lifting injuries, will cause this condition. In most cases, the muscle is not damaged in an injury without also doing damage to the spine.

It is also possible that the muscles of the back are compensating for an underlying spinal condition (such as a slipped disc), causing fatigue of the supportive muscles. The muscle strain is then a symptom of the distress of a vertebral joint or disc.

  • Pain the back that radiates outward
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiffness
  • Movement limitations
  • Rest
  • Identification of any underlying conditions.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen
3d rendered medically accurate illustration of the lumbar spine

Printable Low Back Pain Exercises (pdf)

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