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Doctor insights on: Low Back Strain Recovery Time

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Dr. Edward Hellman
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
23 years in practice
3M people helped
1

1
I encountered low back strain due to bending down too low, last Friday night. Still a lot of pain at times. What is the general rule on ice vs. heat?

I encountered low back strain due to bending down too low, last Friday night. Still a lot of pain at times.  What is the general rule on ice vs. heat?

Varies somewhat: In general, if you have pulled a muscle and created a spasm; moist heat is particularly helpful to relieve; whereas ice tends to make people tighten up but can help to numb a superficial cause of pain. For some it is a little of trial and error. ...Read more

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Dr. Steven Seres
Board Certified
15 years in practice
413K people helped
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Dr. Andrew Shiller
Board Certified, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
20 years in practice
74K people helped
2

2
I strained my low back while putting groceries away. My low back is getting better, but now having pain and tightness on the sides of my hips. Why would the low back strain would affect my hips?

I strained my low back while putting groceries away.  My low back is getting better, but now having pain and tightness on the sides of my hips. Why would the low  back strain would affect my hips?

You are One Unit: Your back, your pelvis, your hips (and the rest of your body) is one unit of function. Said differently, the muscles and other soft tissues of your low back are connected to the muscles and soft tissues of your pelvis, hips, legs. You should get some guidance (from a PT and/or Physiatrist) how to do a general lumbo-pelvic stretching and strengthening. And do it for the rest of your life. ...Read more

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Dr. Steven Seres
Board Certified
15 years in practice
413K people helped
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Dr. Ronald Krauser
Board Certified, Rheumatology
46 years in practice
65M people helped
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I strained my low back, bending down to put gtoceries into a low cart. Normally I have some back strain, but never this bad (pain). No other trauma. What is best treatment for the first few days?

See details: Rest and heat help as acute strains take 1-3 weeks to resolve. Take the ibuprofen with each meal. See your doctor or an orthopedist if the pain persists. Consider starting physical therapy. Finally, get off the Vicodin. ...Read more

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Dr. Jeffrey Glaser
Board Certified, Pain Management
19 years in practice
173K people helped
4

4
I have left low back pain and left front thigh pain when standing fully erect after a back strain. 62, lean, very fit dancer. What is treatment?

I have left low back pain and left front thigh pain when standing  fully erect after a back strain. 62, lean, very fit dancer. What is treatment?

Visit Your Doctor: It is possible that you have lumbar degenerative disease with possible nerve root impingement causing the pain in your thigh which is referred to as radicular pain when coming from the back. You should see your primary care physician to be evaluated as other conditions could also cause these symptoms and you are deserving of an examination and work-up. ...Read more

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Dr. Steven Seres
Board Certified
15 years in practice
413K people helped
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Dr. Steven Saunders
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
27 years in practice
1M people helped
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Dr. Thomas Dowling
Board Certified, Orthopedic Spine Surgery
34 years in practice
15M people helped
6

6
How do I soothe lower back strain?

How do I soothe lower back strain?

Rest heat OTC meda: Generally most just get better with activity restriction and rest but one can apply heat or cold depending what feels best and take over the counter pills like tylenol or advil if no medical reasons to not recommend these medications. ...Read more

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Dr. Douglas Linville II
Board Certified, Orthopedic Spine Surgery
24 years in practice
989K people helped
7

7
On average, how long will a lower back strain last?

On average, how long will a lower back strain last?

Sprains and strains: Muscle pain in the neck or back after over-exercise or strain usually worsens the first couple days. Thereafter, symptoms usually improve daily. Healing time is proportional to the injury—minor strain should heal in a couple days, while a severe strain may take 6 weeks or more if a muscle tear resulted. So just ease back until pain subsides. That's your clue to rev back up. ...Read more

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Dr. Tariq Niazi
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
37 years in practice
2M people helped
8

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I have a lower back strain that's been there for 4 years. I have grown to ignore it but should I do anything?

Have a checkup with: Your pcp and probably with an orthopod, 4 yrs is a long time for a strain to be still causing problems. It'll be good to have a diagnosis to ensure there is nothing else going on. ...Read more

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Dr. Will Moorehead
Board Certified, Orthopedic Spine Surgery
46 years in practice
703K people helped
9

9
How would I know if I have a lower back strain or something more serious?

See doctor: If your pain has persisted for a while would recommend that you see your pcp. ...Read more

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Dr. Ki-Hon Lin
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
19 years in practice
1M people helped
10

10
What can you do to treat a lower back strain?

What can you do to treat a lower back strain?

Conservative care: Often times, conservative treatment such as physical therapy (including strengthening and stretching) and anti-inflammatory medications will work. It would also be reasonable to try massage, ice or heat, or over the counter creams such as aspercreme or capsaicin creme. See a physician if your symptoms do not improve - an MRI may be needed for further evaluation. ...Read more

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Dr. Steven Seres
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15 years in practice
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