Lower Back Pain/Sprain

A back sprain or low back pain is a common condition of the back that causes pain with movement and impairs normal activities. Symptoms usually result from repetitive lifting, bending or twisting. Onset may be gradual or all at once depending on the circumstances. Discomfort may last a few days to a few weeks (or sometimes many months).

Numerous structures or parts of the back and spine can be responsible for producing the pain, making it difficult to identify the exact cause in most cases. Some common reasons are pulled muscles, overly stretched ligaments, or minor misalignment or inflammation of the weight bearing contacts of the spine. Occasionally more serious conditions may be present.

X-rays are generally not necessary when there was a only a minor injury bringing on the condition, unless uncommon or unusual signs or symptoms are present.

Home Care for Low Back Pain

  • Treatment consists of relieving symptoms and preventing further harm while the back pain improves. Initially this requires partial rest or restriction of certain activities. With rest alone, the majority of cases in healthy, motivated individuals resolve within a month or so.

  • Your provider may prescribe or advise a pain medication or muscle-relaxer for short-term use. (Note: Recent medical studies have shown that acetaminophen [Tylenol] works as well as many prescription drugs.) Be sure to take all medications as directed and be aware that some can cause drowsiness.

  • Physical therapy or spinal manipulation may be helpful after symptoms begin to stabilize. Generally these modalities are not arranged through the urgent care clinic but may be considered by your personal physician at a follow-up visit, depending on the circumstances.

  • Your provider may recommend some exercises for you to perform at home. As your pain decreases you can help yourself by doing stretching and strengthening exercises.

  • Regular conditioning along with proper body mechanics can reduce your risk of future problems.

  • If your back pain is related to your employment it is very important to follow the urgent care discharge instructions given to you along with any work restrictions. Give a copy to your employer and be sure to make arrangements for a follow-up visit with your referral physician.


Call or Return If Any of the Following Occur:

  • Pain becomes significantly worse or you develop weakness or pain in a leg or foot

  • You develop chills or fever or lose control of bladder or bowels

  • Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pains

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