What is a lumbar strain?
Lumbar strain is the most common cause of lower back pain. Over 85% of patients will have nonspecific low back pain. Statistics suggest that 80% to 90% of all back pain improves. A majority of these cases fall under this type of injury. Strains can be caused by overuse, misuse, or trauma to the lower back. Injury occurs to the soft tissue causing micro trauma to the muscle, tendon, or ligament. Pain is localized without nerve injury. Since this is a soft tissue injury, no imaging (x-ray, computed tomography [CT] scan, magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) is necessary for workup. Treatments include 1 to 2 days of relative rest followed by a return to normal activity. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heat or ice as well as manual treatment may provide supportive improvement to assist with pain relief. Strains tend to improve over the course of several weeks. Prolonged rest, which was thought to be helpful, has now been found to prolong recovery.