Did you know that many back strains occur during everyday activities while exercising, at work or moving items? The most common cause of back injury is from lifting. The strain from lifting, twisting the spine, lifting from the ground, or an item overhead are common causes of back strain.
There are three significant back injuries that can be caused by improper lifting:
1. Muscle, Ligament, and/or Tendon Injury
Back strain results from damage to muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons in the back, and is caused by over-stretching of the ligaments or tendons, or overuse of the muscles in the back. The most common problem is a strained or pulled muscle.
Not being in the right position while lifting can place extra stress on the back muscles, and when added pressure is placed on a muscle, injury will often occur. The stress causes tiny tears to form in the muscle, which leads to pain and making it difficult to move the affected and surrounding tissues.
2. Joint Injury
Your spinal column has many joints. Even the stress of lifting lightweight objects, can irritate these joints and result in injured joints.
3. Disc Injury
The intervertebral discs located between the vertebrae (bones) are a cushion. These fibrous discs can rupture or bulge when injured. This type of injury in your back can cause pain that can radiate through the buttocks and the legs.
How long will it take to recover from a back injury due to lifting? If it is a discomfort rather than pain, it may resolve in a week or so. Obviously the more severe it is, the longer it will take. It may take even longer if you are experiencing muscle spasms (sharp pain and tight muscles). Generally, most back pain caused by a strain or soft-tissue injury resolves in 3 to 6 weeks. Make sure you always consult with your doctor if you have any back pain that doesn’t go away quickly.
Back pain symptoms to see a doctor about
If you experience any of these items associates with injuring your back, get in to see your doctor or a specialist:
- Weakness, numbness or tingling in the extremities – the leg, foot, arm or hand.
- Increasing back pain with unexpected fever.
- Sudden upper back pain, especially if you are at risk for osteoporosis.
Best way to avoid back pain
- Prepare to lift by warming up the muscles.
- Stand close to the load, facing the way you intend to move.
- Use a wide stance to gain balance.
- Ensure a good grip on the load.
- Keep arms straight.
- Tighten abdominal muscles.
- Tuck chin into the chest.
- Initiate the lift with body weight.
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