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Common Causes of Low Back Injuries

The single most common cause of lower back pain is a torn or pulled muscle and/or ligament. The lumbar spine, or low back, is a remarkably well-engineered structure of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles all working together to provide support, strength, and flexibility. However, this complex structure also leaves the low back susceptible to injury and pain.

Common causes of sprain and strain include:

  • Lifting a heavy object, or twisting the spine while lifting
  • Sudden movements that place too much stress on the low back, such as a fall
  • Poor posture over time
  • Sports injuries, especially in sports that involve twisting or large forces of impact


Common Injuries and their symptoms:

  • Lumbar Herniated Disc
    • The jelly-like center of a lumbar disc can break through the tough outer layer and irritate a nearby nerve root.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
    •  At birth, intervertebral discs are full of water and at their healthiest. As people age over time, discs lose hydration and wear down.
  • Spinal Stenosis
    •  This condition causes pain through narrowing of the spinal canal where the nerve roots are located.
  • Trauma
    •  Acute fractures or dislocations of the spine can lead to pain. Lower back pain that develops after a trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall, should be medically evaluated

What can we do about it?

  • Rest and apply heat or ice to the area to provide some relief (short lasting)
  • At the core of most of these injuries are usually underlying weaknesses. These problems can usually be addressed with a great strengthening exercise program over time as provided by physical therapy. 
  • Surgery may be an option for some injuries if the situation is critical and the person meets the criteria. Most of the injuries above do not meet the criteria for a surgical intervention and can be resolved with physical therapy.
  • Trying out yoga or pilates.  This exercise system centers on controlled movements, breathing, and stretching. When these are used correctly they can prevent for chronic non-specific low back pain with a slight reduction in pain

What will happen if it is not treated now?

Lower back injuries when left untreated can result in:

  • Further back injury
  • Leg weakness and pain
  • Inability to lift or carry
  • Inability to sit or walk for longer periods of time

When it comes to back injuries, physical therapy is the best choice to improve symptoms such as pain and weakness and prevent injury from recurring. Avoiding physical therapy may even extend your pain and further the process of recovery, which means more time out of work and not participating in your daily activities. And don’t let COVID-19 keep you from wanting to feel better because we got you and will make sure you and everyone are safe during your therapy.

So why not choose physical therapy now and let us help you RETURN TO THE THINGS YOU LOVE! Give us a call and we will get you scheduled for an evaluation with physical therapists who will treat you with an individualized program to ultimately allow you to achieve YOUR goals! 703-450-4300

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