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Lumbar Sprain/Strain

Although there are numerous causes for low-back pain, the most common cause is due to sprains or strains of the low back. A strain is defined as an injury or stretch to your muscles, while a sprain is the abnormal stretching or tearing of your ligaments. Your spine is supported by muscles, ligaments, and cartilage which are vital to keeping it stable during movement and rest.


Typical symptoms of lumbar sprains and strains are low-back or buttock pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms that are aggravated by movement. The onset of pain is usually within 24 hours of the injury. Severity of symptoms can vary and typically present as sharp pain, aching, and throbbing.

Possible causes

Low-back strains generally occur after an abnormal twisting or pulling of a muscle. For example, it can occur after improper weight lifting or after continued trauma from physically demanding jobs. Risk factors for low back strains and sprains include abdominal obesity, weak abdominal muscles, and tight hamstrings.


Your Center for Pain Management doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your unique case. Appropriate treatment is always based on an accurate diagnosis. Our initial evaluation will include a thorough review of your history and a detailed examination, including review of imaging.

Mild cases of lumbar strains/sprains improve fairly quickly over time with usage of conservative options, including temporary rest, ice packs, and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe cases may require more aggressive treatment options.