What does a pulled muscle in your back feel like?
This can be one of the most debilitating pains you can have. It can feel like your back has completely snapped in half and there is no let up. No position helps the pain and you cannot get comfortable.
If a professional told you ‘you have just pulled a muscle’ you might just slap them in the face as this cannot be just a muscle.
It also happens at the most inconvenient time, you have been working like a dog for 6 months straight since that last summer holiday and you have been looking forward to that special week off in Christmas.
The time comes and you begin to relax, a few mince pies and a couple of glasses of lovely red wine. You then decide that lifting that heavy kitchen table for the big dinner tomorrow is a good idea. All of a sudden just as you are picking it up, your back goes into spasm, you fall to the floor in agony, your back is completely locked up and you cannot move.
We hear this scenario all too often, it is horrible. But you need to remember the reason the back goes into spasm isn’t because of the muscle, there is something else going on in your body that causes the muscle to spasm. It is a warning sign and a protective mechanism to look after the disc and also the spinal cord.
Why does a pulled muscle occur?
It is to do with instability in your back, where the vertebrae are not aligned properly and moving correctly. The muscles and ligaments around the spine will work differently and will take up more stress in certain positions. When that stress increases it can be too much for the muscle to take and this can cause it to pull or go into a spasm.
The fibres within the muscle tissue become tight and strained, which can cause you to lean over to one side and also the pelvis to hitch up on one side. If you look in the mirror and one side of your pelvis looks higher then this is often a muscle spasm, also if your shoulder is higher on one side this can be due to a pulled muscle.
How to treat a pulled muscle?
It is important to remember that the pulled muscle is there for a reason, it is to protect the disc and spinal cord. You want to relax the muscle off slowly to ensure that the disc is still protected to a certain extent.
Using ice is one of the best ways to relax a pulled muscle, putting the ice on for 15 minutes and then taking it off for 45 minutes and back on again for 15 minutes is a great way to do it. Using heat can exacerbate the problem and delay the healing.
- Cat Camel stretch-this is a low impact way to take pressure off your back and can be done first thing in the morning often when the pain is at its worst. Start in the bed and do it for 3 minutes to ease the muscles. Watch video here
- Child’s pose-another one to do in the bed, really try and get your hips to your ankles and take as much pressure off your back as possible. Move from side to side as well to get all directions of the muscle. Watch video here
- Foam roller-this helps to compress the muscle tissue and iron out any adhesions in the muscle, this is great to do at home and simple to use.
If you do know someone who wants more advice, please send them our details. You can send them this assessment as well to diagnose their back pain. It is a great tool to understand where your back pain is coming from, it is free and takes 60 seconds. Click here for assessment