Lower back pain is the reason most people schedule a visit to their doctor. While herniated discs and pinched nerves can be a source of such discomfort, strain on muscles that have been overused, over-stretched, or damaged is often the culprit. Symptoms such as sharp, sudden pain triggered by movement are often localized to the lower right back or similar area. Regardless of the specific location, most instances of muscle strain aren’t serious. Santa Monica spine surgeons discuss a few things that can be done to find much-appreciated relief from lower right back muscle strain.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Temperature-based treatments may provide immediate relief to sore and aching lower back muscles. Applied with heating pads, heat packs, or creams and gels that trigger a warming sensation, heat therapy works by increasing circulation, releasing the tension in muscles that support the spine, and stimulating the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the affected muscles.
Cold therapy works by immediately soothing sore muscles and reducing the inflammation that often contributes to the pain felt when a muscle strain occurs. It can be administered with an ice pack, cooling gel, or similar methods. When applying heat or cold to your lower back, remember to:
- Avoid direct contact with the skin
- Limit applications to 15 to 20 minutes at a time
- Vary how you apply temperature (e.g., taking a warm bath instead of only using a heating pad)
Nonspecific low back pain like what results from a muscle strain is sometimes eased with chiropractic manipulations. Tissues, joints, and supporting muscles are usually manipulated by hand. Sometimes special handheld devices are used to strategically apply gentle, targeted pressure to muscles. The manipulations are done in a way that stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities and restores flexibility. Chiropractors often offer nutritional counseling and exercise advice that can also help manage muscle-related pain.
While exercise can help keep muscles that directly or indirectly support the spine strong, performing certain movements can be painful with strained muscles. Lower back muscles can still be strengthened and conditioned with exercises performed in water, usually in a heated therapy pool. The natural buoyancy of water makes it easier to perform therapeutic movements.
Muscles can become tight or tense over time when affected by repeated strain. Gentle massage techniques relieve sore muscles and minimize pain by stimulating the release of the body’s natural pain-relievers, hormones known as endorphins. Types of massage therapy that may ease lower right back muscle strain include:
- Deep tissue massage
- Aromatherapy massage
- Chair massages in a special portable chair
Most instances of back pain that are relegated to a single area like the lower right back but do not have radiating nerve pain as a symptom are a temporary inconvenience. The risk of experiencing muscle strain can be minimized by doing proper warmups before exercising or playing sports, properly lifting and bending, and maintaining proper spinal alignment or posture as you sit or stand throughout your day.
If you are experiencing severe back pain, get in touch with the spine specialists at The Spine Institute to find out if you might need minimally invasive surgery. We specialize in spinal fusion and decompression procedures like vertebroplasty surgery. Santa Monica patients who are seeking an effective solution for lower back pain relief should give us a call today at 310-828-7757.