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Back Strain

Strained back muscles are common cause of back pain, usually caused by strenuous exercise or lifting a heavy object the wrong way. Repetitive strain of the back tends to occur with frequent lifting (mothers with kids, tradesmen etc) and poor posture.

The pain from strained back muscles tends to be worse the next day after the injury. Strained back muscles are sore with movement and feel better with rest. The pain generally settles within a few days.



  • Ice packs should be used for the first 2 or 3 following back muscle strain. Flexible gel packs or soft ice bags are best as they conform to the shape of the body. If these are not available, ice chips tied in a plastic bag can be used instead. The ice pack should always be covered with a layer of towel. Applying the ice for 10 to 15 minutes every hour is an effective way to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Heat can be used after 2 or 3 days when the acute pain starts to settle. Heat increases blood flow to the area, and should not be used immediately after an injury. A wheat bag (natural biodegradable) or moist heat packs are best, although a hot water bottle can also be used. These should always be covered with a layer of towel.
  • Natural injury remedies; Injurease (containing arnica), and Back Pain Control, a nutritional anti-inflammatory, can reduce pain and shorten recovery time. Liniments and rubs can provide relief, but it is better to avoid deep heat applications for the first 2 or 3 days. Injurease (with arnica) cream is recommended as it promotes healing and repair without causing heat. Injurease oral spray or Injurease pilules, formulated for muscle and joint injuries, can be taken to support recovery.
  • Resting the back is necessary to avoid making the problem worse. Activities and exercise should be limited until the pain has settled. Even then, stretches and exercises should be done with caution, as the likelihood of re-injury is high for the first few days. With the right management, a muscle strain usually resolves within  week.
  • A back brace should be worn if there is a lot of pain in your back, or if every movement is painful. This prevents re- injury to the muscles and can speed up healing time. If your job involves repetitive lifting or physical work, wearing an industrial back brace is good injury prevention and can save you future back problems.
  • Stretching including yoga, can improve flexibility and circulation in the back muscles, making future strains less likely. Pilates and other core-strengthening exercises help build muscle tone in the back.