What is a lumbar strain?
A lumbar strain is an injury to the
lower back. This leads to damaged tendons and muscles that can spasm and feel sore. The
lumbar vertebra make up the section of the spine in your lower back.
How is lumbar strain diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical
history and physical exam, diagnosing low back pain may include the following. However,
specialized tests aren’t usually required.
X-ray. A diagnostic test that produces images of internal
tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
CT scan. This is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a
computer to make detailed images of the body. It shows details of the bones, muscles,
fat, and organs.
MRI. This test uses a combination of large magnets,
radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures
within the body.
Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that
uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into your
bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and
cell activity within the bone.
Electromyogram (EMG). A test to evaluate nerve and muscle
How is lumbar strain treated?
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on
how severe the condition is.
Treatment may include:
- Ice packs and/or heat and compression
applied to the back
- Exercises (to strengthen the abdominal
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
(for the lower back as it heals)
- Learning how to use and wear
appropriate protective equipment
Medicines, such as
anti-inflammatories and spinal injections, may also be used to relieve pain and