Exercise is Therapy.
Written by: Melanie Talastas-Soriano BA-Kin, CAT(C), ISSA-CPT
Athletic Therapist, Personal Trainer
Muscle strain can happen to anyone and can be problematic in their day-to-day life. The lower back muscles are mostly affected and often injured due to improper lifting. Lowering a heavy object is in fact how you can get injured and not the actual lifting. The feeling of your muscle pulling apart, sharp pain, feeling something pop and leaving you out of breath for a few minutes is when you know you have injured something.
Here are 5 steps to take care of your acute lower back muscle strain:
*Acute muscle strain is when an injury just happened within 24 hours (you just injured it). Muscles experience micro-tearing and the body is protecting it when feeling pain, tightness, swelling and heat (blood are rushing to the injured area).
1. Ice the injured area and rest. Sitting for a long time or standing might be uncomfortable. Try to find the best position. When applying ice, you can lie on your back or stomach, whichever is the most comfortable. You can also change your positioning often. Sleeping may be challenging, however you can use pillows under your knees if lying on your back and use pillows between your knees if lying on your side. Rest means, do not perform physical tasks that may contribute to your lower back pain. Apply ice for 10-15 minutes.
2. Apply heat after 72 hours. After 72 hours, your injury would have settled down by this time. Which means the body is done protecting the area, you can now apply heat to help soothe the skin, the fascia and the muscle itself. Bringing blood flow and healthy nutrients will help in tissue healing. Apply heat for 10-15 minutes.
3. Seek the help of an Athletic Therapist. You are now at day 3 or 4 after your injury. It is now time to book an appointment with an Athletic Therapist. You may feel 50% better than you did the first day you injured it but I know that you are not performing your normal daily routine because you still can’t walk at a normal speed or bend down to reach for something. Also, in the mornings you feel very stiff. This step is the most important one that people always miss. I say this because, people that sustained a low back injury and was not completely rehabbed becomes chronic and the injury will come back worse than the first time. By this time, it will be harder to rehabilitate a chronic injury if you decided to help yourself get better.
When you see an Athletic Therapist, you will be assessed with your injury and find out exactly how you hurt yourself and which muscles are affected. Then, there are tools that we use to help you relieve pain and stiffness on your low back. We will apply heat to the area, use ultrasound if necessary and then help the muscle get looser by soft tissue release technique and massage the injured area. You will feel much better after that first session but still not 100%. The follow up sessions are as important so that we move forward to muscle healing.
4. Rock tape application. One technique that we use to help with muscle healing after a therapy session is the application of rock tape. Rock tape is design to help the injured muscle groups to increase the blood flow to the area, encourage the muscle to move, help decrease pain and decrease muscle fatigue. The best thing about rock tape application is that you can have it on for 3-5 days and its water proof. If you want to read more about how rock tape works, please visit our website www.insahyu.com an article was written specifically about the benefits of rock tape.
5. Strength / stretch program. You are now on your third or fourth follow up session with your Athletic Therapist and very close to 90% better. You are now moving forward and feeling better every day with the guidance of your A.T. The strength and stretch program will be your guide to prevent low back muscle strain in the future. Now, this is the key to a complete rehabilitation and a good transition to your training routine. Stay tuned for the part 2 article for detailed strength/stretch program.
Muscle strain left untreated will nag for weeks, months or even years. These 5 steps are critical and very important for your recovery. Follow these steps in this order to feel better every day and recover sooner than later. Thank you for reading our article. We hope that our exercise and rehab tips can help you avoid much serious injuries and can be treated quickly.
To book an appointment with Melanie please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org subject: athletic therapy appointment or call at 204.999.0933 and leave her a voicemail.
“Train hard, recover faster” ~Insahyu Training + Therapy
Train hard, Recover faster.