Lumbar sprains and strains

Dr. Vic Weatherall
December 2014

Lumbar sprains and strains the most common low back injuries. Sprains are ligament or joint capsule tears while strains are muscle or tendon tears. These injures may be caused by a trauma, such as a fall, or due to prolonged postural strain, such as faulty sitting postures:

  • sitting greatly increases the loading on the spine
  • muscles of the abdomen and low back weaken
  • hip flexor muscles tighten and accentuate the lumbar curve

All of the above cause increased fatigue to the muscles and ligaments supporting the low back and can eventually lead to tissue injury and spinal joint dysfunction.

Typical symptoms of sprain and strain include

  • muscle spasm and pain
  • swelling
  • pain on movement
  • involvement of other muscles as a reaction
  • referred pain to buttocks and thighs or up the spine

Depending on the severity and duration of the injury, several treatment tools may be used to address lumbar sprains and strains. See also the article Acute low back injuries.

Contact Dr. Weatherall if you have any questions or to see if he can help you with a problem.