A series of muscles and ligaments in your back hold the bones of your spinal column in place. You can strain these muscles by stretching them too far, causing tiny tears in the tissue. The muscles are then weakened, so they may not be able to hold the bones of your spinal column in place correctly. The spine becomes less stable, causing low back pain.
Low back strain can be caused by:
Common symptoms of low back strain include pain and stiffness in the back, along with pain in the buttocks and legs ( often in the back of the thigh). This pain is felt the most when stretching, coughing or sneezing. Since some symptoms of low back strain are similar to those of more serious conditions, it's important to get checked out by a doctor. Any numbness and weakness in your legs, or bowel and bladder problems, can be a sign of nerve damage -- and that needs immediate medical attention.
A simple physical examination is sufficient for diagnosis, but your doctor may recommend MRI or CT scan if needed.
Your physiotherapist will guide you through low back strain treatment programme. This programme will include ice and heat application, massages, light exercises which aim at strengthening and improving flexibility.
Once the back pain is gone, your physiotherapist will want you to start a regular exercise routine. This will get your back muscles stronger. It will help you recover, and reduce your odds of low back strain in the future. Your doctor will probably want you to take up low impact sports, like swimming or using a stationary bike.
Whatever you do, don't rush things. Don't try to return to your previous level of physical activity until:
Recovery time depends on how serious your low back strain is. Mild cases may resolve in a couple of days. It can take many weeks for more serious strains. This condition can be prevented by taking proper care and precautions, such as sleeping on the stomach should be avoided, losing weight (if one is overweight), maintaining a proper posture. For details regarding exercises for low back pain, speak to your physiotherapist.