Back Injury - Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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Back Injury - Medical Malpractice

Low back strains or injuries can involve injuries to the muscles, ligaments or bones of the back. The lower back involves the lumbar vertebrae L1-L5 and the sacrum although the lower thoracic vertebrae can be involved in a low back injury. The lumbar aspect of the spine is involved in lifting and stretching of the back. You can get injury to the lower back if you twist and lift an object that is too heavy or if you lift a heavy object with the back straight. Motor vehicle accidents, falls and sports injuries can cause a low back injury. The muscle fibres can be pulled, stretched or torn, leading to pain, inflammation and an inability to have full range of motion of the back. Many people get both a strain of the tendons and ligaments, as well as a sprain of the surrounding muscles. You treat both types of injuries basically the same.

Low back injury is the second most common cause of missed work days. The symptoms include pain in the lower back, stiffness of the back, shooting pains in the back and a limited range of motion of the back. The pain is often better at rest, especially if you place ice or heat onto the back. Seek medical attention immediately if you have loss of bowel or bladder function, pain unrelieved by medications or rest, or weakness of the lower extremities. These can be signs of nerve impingement, which is more serious than a sprain or strain of the back.

When there is a low back injury, there is inflammation of the soft tissue around the spine that makes for the pain you are feeling. Bed rest for a day or two can settle down the inflammation along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to relieve the inflammation. You can still have symptoms that last as long as a month. If it lasts longer, see an orthopedist or chiropractor to ease the pain and find out why it is lasting so long. Chiropractors can ease subluxations or minor dislocations of the low back. This can relieve the pain somewhat instantly.

There are certain people that get low back injuries more likely than others. Those that work in jobs with much heavy lifting and twisting injuries get low back strains quite often. If there is a sudden forceful stress on the back, it can become strained. If you aren't sufficiently trained or conditioned, you can strain it more easily. If you don't know how to lift properly or are obese, the back is more likely to become injured. Not knowing how to lift properly can get in the way of getting back strains. You should take classes in lifting heavy objects if this is part of your job. You can do back strengthening exercises before or after the injury occurs.

The treatment of lumbar muscle pain is rest in the first twenty four hours. This can reduce the inflammation of the lower back and takes down the back spasms. After twenty-four to forty-eight hours, you should do gentle walking and stretching of the back but no lifting until the back pain has resolved. Too much rest and your back will stiffen up and it will take longer to heal. You can put ice to the low back in the first two days and then use heat to the affected area for muscle spasm relief.

The best medications for low back strain include Advil, naproxen or Tylenol. The first two help with inflammation and are preferable. Doctors can prescribe muscle relaxants to ease the spasm of the low back muscles. As you get better, you should consider physical and occupational therapy in order to stretch the muscles, strengthen the muscles, and learn how to lift more properly. You can learn how not to get a similar injury in the future. Conditioning of the muscles is important for a better chance of not getting a low back injury when you lift heavy objects after the injury has healed.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here