what to do if you have lower back pain from exertion

What to do if you have lower back pain From Exertion?

Whether you are young or old, fit or frail, lower back pain from exertion can happen to you.

The cause can be as innocuous as carrying something heavy, the sudden impact from landing badly during a sport, or a repetitive motion like jumping repeatedly.

In this article, we explain what you should do after picking up a lower back injury.

Types of Lower Back Injuries

There are two types of potential injuries in the soft tissue of the lower back. Both have identical symptoms and receive the same treatment (but it’s good to know the difference).

Muscle Strains

Strains happen when muscles are overused or overstretched. Examples of muscles that support the lower back are the obliques, gluteus and thoracolumbar fascia.

Ligament Sprains

Sprains happen when the ligaments that join two bones together becomes overstretched or torn. Ligaments are the tissue that join the bones in the spine and hips.

Sometimes there is inflammation around the area or there are muscle spasms. Those symptoms do not mean the damage is worse. They are just the body’s natural response to the injury.

How to Treat a Strain or Sprain

Treatment for a strain or sprain is a long and gradual process. There is the initial stage to mitigate early symptoms like swelling and intense pain. Then there is the rehabilitation stage that aims to regain use of the injured area or joint.

Initial Treatment

Some typical first-step treatments for strains and sprains include:

  • Applying ice packs or heat packs to the lower back
  • Taking medication like pain medicines, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories
  • Resting for day or two until the pain subsides
  • Sleeping on your side to relieve pressure on the lower back


When you more ambulatory, you can seek further care to rehabilitate your lower back by:

  • Increasing circulation and relaxing the muscles with massage therapy
  • Restricting excessive movement of the lower back with a back brace
  • Decreasing sensitivity of the nerves with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
  • Relieving pain with acupuncture therapy

Strengthening the support muscles around the injured area with exercises and stretches under the advisement of a physiotherapist

When to Seek Medical Attention

For muscle strains, there are three grades. Most cases are at grade 1 at which the damage fully heals within a couple of weeks. At grades 2 (serious tear of muscle) and 3 (complete rupture of muscle), seek medical attention immediately. That’s when the pain in your lower back does not start subsiding within a few days.

Ligament sprains have three grades also. Grade 1 heals quickly. If there was a ‘pop’ at the moment of injury or if there is complete instability in your lower back, you may have grades 2 or 3 and you should seek medical attention immediately.

We have helped countless patients rehabilitate and recover from a lower back injury with physiotherapy.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you, please do contact us.

Recommended read: Simple guide to learn everything about lower back pain.

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Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor

Jun Xian work with clients on pain management, regain and progress them to higher fitness level with combination of Physiotherapy and Pilates.

He love sharing his knowledge around topics of lower back pain, hip and knee problem.

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Lower your risk of injury trying higher intensity training, build foundation strength and strong core control. Our Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor are ready to bring you from rehab to fitness, with aim to prevent you falling from fitness back to rehab.