WHAT TO DO FOR BACK SPRAINS?

Back Sprains happen to most of us at one time or another. A Back Sprain is most often caused by:

Improper Lifting, for example, not holding heavy items close to the body

Improper Bending Bending and twisting too quickly or in an awkward way often causes a sprained back.

Poor Posture Slouching causes stress on the ligaments that support the joints in the back

Being Overweight Too much weight around the abdomen puts constant stress on the back

Being Out of Shape Weak back muscles are more prone to sprains.




A back sprain is a joint injury where some of the ligaments supporting the joint are torn, but the major ligaments remain intact.

The majority or us know someone who sprained their neck in a car accident. In these “whiplash” injuries, the neck ligaments get quickly stretched both forward and backward.

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Back Sprains cause even more disability in our country than whiplash does.

Sprains can usually be cared for with conservative treatment options. Surgery is not usually necessary.

One of the problems with sprains is that, without proper rehabilitation, the sprained area of the body may not regain normal function and is always more likely to be re-injured.

I experienced this firsthand when I suffered a bad sprained ankle while playing basketball as a teenager.

I iced my ankle, wrapped it, and used crutches for two weeks to keep pressure off it while it was healing.

Though I had followed my family doctors advice, he was not an expert in sprains.

That ankle never regained its original strength.

In fact, I lost count of how many times I re-sprained that ankle after that first injury. It took no more than a quick weight shift to re-injure it because the strength of the joints in my ankle were never normal after the first sprain.

This all too often is the same for sprains of the back. Most people who sprain their back lifting something, playing a sport, or in a slip and fall don’t recover fully.

The reason they don’t recover fully is because when the pain stops, they think they are healed. Then they rarely get to the recovery or (rehabilitative) phase of the healing process.




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When a Sprain occurs there are usually five concerns that need to be addressed.

1. Unhealthy inflammatory chemicals released from the injured tissues.

2. Cellular changes to spinal tissues that over time can lead to adhesions (scar tissue), and eventually abnormal bone growth of the back bones and joints.

3. Irritation to spinal nerves by pressure, stretch or chemical irritation from waste products of the back tissues.

4. Unhealthy changes in the back muscles which includes spasms, weakness and improper function.

5. Loss of normal position and motion of the bones in the back.

Each of these concerns need to be treated properly for a full recovery to be possible.

Without going through full rehab, the area of the back that was sprained doesn’t completely heal and is left weaker than it used to be. It is not able to function normally. And it is now likely to become a chronic painful problem.

The Occupations best trained in full Back Rehabilitation are:

Chiropractic Chiropractors are Musculoskeletal experts with unmatched training of all things related to the back.They would be a conservative health care professional qualified to treat your back sprain.

Physical therapy Physical therapists also focuses treatment on maintaining and restoring maximum movement and functional ability.

Physiatry Physiatrists are physicians who focus on body function. They would be a good choice for treatment of your back sprain.


Click here for a list of all the pain relief products that I use, or that I recommend to patients, family and friends.

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To Your Best Health,

Dr. Cliff



Return from Back Sprains to Causes of Back Pain

Information on Back-Strains

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