How to Relieve Upper Back Pain with Exercise | LIVESTRONG.COM

Exercise for back Muscle pain

Exercises / July 25, 2018

back muscle pain

Back muscle pain or its aliases: pulled back muscle, back muscle spasm, torn back muscle or back muscle strain, is very common.

In fact, back muscle pain is the most common source of back pain. The good news is, that it is also one of the quickest to heal and rehabilitate.

What Causes Back Muscle Pain?

Most causes of low back pain are muscle, ligament or joint related. Commonly, these back injuries are caused by muscular strains, ligament sprains and joint dysfunction, particularly when pain arises suddenly during or following physical loading of your spine. Muscle fatigue, excessive loads, high speeds or poor lifting postures are the most common causes.

The causes of simple back pain are numerous but roughly fall into the following categories.

Back Muscle Strains

Muscle pain is the most common source of back pain. Muscle fatigue, excessive loads or poor lifting or sitting postures are the most common problems.

Inefficient, weak, or back muscles that lack endurance or normal contraction timing can lead to poor joint stabilisation and subsequent injury to your back muscles, ligaments, joints or even spinal discs.

Poor Posture

Poor posture when sitting, standing and lifting at work, can place unnecessary stress upon your spine. With muscle fatigue or overstretching, your ligaments and discs can stretch and this places spinal joint muscles and nerves under pain-causing pressure or strain, that results in back pain.

Ligament Sprains

Ligaments are the strong fibrous bands that limit the amount of movement at available at each spinal level. Stretching ligaments too far or too quickly will tear them with subsequent bleeding into the surrounding tissues, causing swelling, muscular spasm and pain.

Awkward lifting, sports injuries and motor vehicle accidents are very common causes. Just as in other regions of the body, physiotherapy hastens ligament healing and relieves pain so that you can enjoy life again as soon as possible.

What are Symptoms of Back Muscle Pain?

Back muscle pain symptoms may range from a mild ache to sudden debilitating back pain.

Typical back muscle pain symptoms include:

  • Localised back pain, with no radiation into your buttock or leg.
  • Back muscle tenderness and/or spasm.
  • Protective back stiffness.
  • Sudden back pain onset.

You will usually feels better when resting, and may find change of position painful eg sit to stand, rolling in bed, walking or bending.

Warning Signs of a More Serious Back Injury?

In these instances, or you have constant and severe back pain, please urgently consult your nearest hospital, doctor or physiotherapist.

Neurological signs:

  • pins and needles (paraesthesia),
  • numbness (anaesthesia),
  • leg muscle weakness,
  • altered reflexes,
  • difficulty walking,
  • loss of control of bladder or bowels.

How is Back Muscle Pain Diagnosed?

Differentiating a back muscle strain from a ligament sprain can be difficult, as both injuries will show similar symptoms. In general, it doesn't significantly matter what you call the problem because the treatment and prognosis for both back muscular strains and ligament sprains is similar. Most spinal practitioners refer to both injuries as a category called a “Back Strain” or "Musculoligamentous Strain".

X-rays do not identify muscle or ligament injury. MRI scan is probably the best diagnostic test to specifically identify muscle or ligament structures are injured and to what extent. CT scans may also assist.

Seek a Professional Diagnosis!

All back pain sufferers should be thoroughly examined by a spinal health practitioner eg physiotherapist. Back pain can be caused by numerous injuries and the treatment does vary significantly depending on your diagnosis. Physiotherapy treatment for simple back pain is designed to protect your injury, while hastening your muscle and ligament healing, and then look at strategies to prevent a recurrence.

Your physiotherapist has some nifty tricks for quickly relieving your back pain so that you can enjoy life again as soon as possible.

PHASE I - Pain Relief & Protection

Managing your back pain is the main reason that you seek treatment for low back pain. In truth, it was actually the final symptom that you developed and should be the first symptom to improve.

Your physiotherapist will use an array of treatment tools to protect your back and reduce your pain and inflammation. These include: ice, electrotherapy eg tens, acupuncture, taping techniques, soft tissue massage, back braces. Your doctor may also recommend a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

PHASE II - Restoring Normal ROM, Strength

As your back pain and inflammation settles, your physiotherapist will turn their attention to restoring your normal back motion, muscle lengths and resting muscle tension, muscle strength and endurance, proprioception, balance and gait (walking pattern).

Your physiotherapist will commence you on a lower back core stability program to facilitate your important muscles that dynamically control and stabilise your low back and pelvis. Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle recruitment pattern and prescribe the best exercises for you specific to your needs.

PHASE III - Restoring Full Function

Depending on your chosen sport, work or activities of daily living, your physiotherapist will aim to restore your function to safely allow you to return to your desired activities. Everyone has different demands for their backs that will determine what specific treatment goals you need to achieve. For some it be simply to walk around the block. Others may wish to run a marathon.

Your physiotherapist will tailor your rehabilitation to help you achieve your own functional goals.

PHASE IV - Preventing a Back Pain Recurrence

Recurrence of low back pain can and does regularly occur. The main reason it is thought to recur is due to insufficient rehabilitation. In particular, poor deep abdominal...

Source: physioworks.com.au