Muscle Strains vs. Ligament Sprains
Muscle strains and ligament sprains are the leading cause of acute lower back pain in America. The resulting pain can be quite intense! A muscle strain involves the over-stretching or tearing of the muscle fibers or tendons. A ligament sprain involves the over-stretching or tearing of the ligaments (connective tissue that connects two bones).
One is usually able to pinpoint the exact moment that the strain or sprain occurred, usually after heavy lifting, lifting while twisting, or a sudden impact movement. Sometimes, a muscle can get strained from prolonged misuse and get weakened to the point that even a small movement can tear the muscle fibers. Strains and sprains are incredibly common sports injuries or from sudden movements, like bending forward too quickly.
Symptoms of Muscle Strains and Ligament Sprains
Some symptoms include localized pain that doesn’t radiate, muscle spasms, and feeling relief from pain while resting. Bruising in the area can sometimes occur, especially when there is significant damage.
Treatments for Strains and Sprains
Anti-inflammatory pain medication and ice packs are good short-term treatments while the pain and inflammation are acute. In addition, massage therapy is an incredibly effective treatment for strains and sprains. Massage can increases blood flow to the affected area, loosens the muscles, and releases endorphins.
Although resting the muscles for an extended period of time may be tempting, it is extremely important to begin light strengthening exercises as soon as possible to avoid muscle atrophy in the lower back. Weakened lower back and core muscles have a harder time holding the spine erect, which may result in more pain in itself.
How we can Help.
As injury specialists and sports massage therapists, we can help support you with your sprain or strain. We can assess and treat your injury and help guide you on a path to recovery or refer you to another medical practitioner if needed.
Feel free to contact our owner and Injury Specialist, David, with any of your injury questions at 303-444-1171. He has over 20 years experience working with injuries and athletes.
This blog is part of a series explaining lower back pain called, “Do You Have Lower Back Pain.”