Lumbar Strain (Weight Lifter's Back) Symptoms, Causes

Lumbar strain is an injury to the lower back which results in damaged tendons and muscle spasms. One of the most common causes of low back pain, lumber strain is brought on by the stretching or tearing of the large muscles in your lower back. When this occurs, the tissues become inflamed and muscle spasms are likely to follow. This type of injury can be very painful and debilitating. Your back is vulnerable to this type of injury because it is involved in the many twisting, bending and moving motions you do every day.

Lumbar Strain Symptoms
Depending on the severity of the injury, symptoms of lumbar strain may include:

  • Pain – The severity of the pain depends on the severity of the injury.
  • Muscle spasms
  • Joint instability
  • Loss of strength
  • Loss of muscle function
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion

Lumbar Strain Causes
Lumbar strain can result from acute injury or gradual overuse. In fact, there are many different causes of lumbar strain because of the lower back’s central location in your body. The lower back is used constantly in everyday activities and work, making it more susceptible to injury or strain. People with weak backs, weak abdominal muscles and tight hamstrings are more likely to experience lumbar strain. Other causes include:

  • Activities – Any kind of weight lifting or excessive activity can lead to lumbar strain due to the pulling and pushing motions involved, in addition to the normal weight-bearing function of the back. Any activity which requires pushing and pulling motions can possibly cause lumbar strain.
  • Sports – Those that require sudden twisting of the lower back like tennis, basketball, baseball and golf can cause lumbar strain.
  • Poor posture – Excessive lower back curvature or forward-tilted pelvis can increase the risk for lumbar strain.
  • Accidents – Sudden and extreme impacts like car accidents or falls
  • Inadequate warm-up – Inadequately stretching your back muscles prior to exercising may cause lumbar muscle strain.

Treatments for lumbar strain include resting, icing, pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. Lumbar strain does not typically require any kind of surgery.

The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Spine Services in New York treats lumbar strain as well as a broad range of spine conditions that can occur at any stage of life.

Rehabilitation Services
The Rehabilitation Network of the North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to providing you and your family with result-oriented, comprehensive rehabilitation services. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones find relief from pain and get moving again after an accident, illness, injury or surgery. We’re your partner in a safe, healthy, more rapid recovery.

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