One of the most common injuries reported after an auto accident is lumbar strain. The word “lumbar” refers to your back, and “strain” refers to the undue force placed on your muscles during the accident. Below, you can learn more about lumbar strain, what causes it, and the various treatments that are available to you.
What Is Lumbar Strain?
Lumbar strain occurs when the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in your lower back have been suddenly stretched beyond their normal range of motion. In a car accident, the sudden force applied to your car – and therefore your body – may cause such a strain. Due to the sudden force and stretching, you may experience very tiny tears in the various tissues in your lower back. The most common symptoms associated with lumbar strain are back pain and stiffness.
How to Know if You Have Lumbar Strain
The best way to determine whether you are experiencing lumbar strain is to see a doctor. He or she will ask you questions about your medical history and the nature of your accident, then ask you to describe the location of your pain.
The first course of action involves determining whether you have a nervous system injury, which can be quite serious.
After this has been ruled out, your doctor can typically diagnose you with lumbar strain, though he or she may order X- rays just to exclude any injuries related to the bone.
How to Treat Lumbar Strain
Lumbar strain can cause a great deal of pain, and it can even leave you completely incapacitated for a while, but it is very rarely serious. The most common treatment option is bedrest, which is important for preventing any further injury to your lower back. You may also be prescribed pain medications depending on the severity of your pain; medications like ibuprofen can help to reduce swelling and alleviate pain while narcotic pain medications work better for more severe pain. Applying heat to the area, participating in clinical massage, and later working with a physical therapist to recondition the injured tissues can all aid in the healing process, as well.
Lumbar strain is a very common injury, and while it may be incredibly painful, it is typically not considered a serious injury. However, it is important that you receive medical treatment as soon as possible after your injury to facilitate proper healing and get on the road to recovery as soon as possible.