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How to Treat a Pulled Lower Back Muscle

author image Linda Ray
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
How to Treat a Pulled Lower Back Muscle
How to Treat a Pulled Lower Back Muscle Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

A pulled muscle occurs when a muscle in the lower back is stretched or torn, report doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Lower back muscle strains are common and often can be treated at home. Serous tears sometimes require surgery to repair the injury. There are a number of easy steps you can take to treat a pulled lower back muscle.

Step 1

Apply ice to the spot that hurts as soon as you can after you feel the muscle pull. Wrap ice in a towel and or use a ready-made ice pack. Lie on your stomach and place the ice over your lower back. Leave the ice in place for 15 to 20 minutes every three or four hours.

Step 2

Alternate the ice treatment with a heating pad for about 20 minutes. Ice reduces inflammation, and heat can help to relax tight muscles that react to a pull by tensing up.

Step 3

Wrap an elastic bandage around your waist to immobilize the pulled muscle to give it time to heal while you move around. Start the wrapping at the base of your back and wrap upward. Loosen the bandage if it feels painful. If the wrap does not relieve some of the pain, use a stiffer brace to hold the muscle in place.

Step 4

Rest as much as you can and avoid using your back muscles until the pain dissipates. Avoid picking up things and bending over as much as possible. Lie on the floor with your knees bent over a high pillow or resting on a chair to take weight off your back. Doctors at the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend walking around every couple hours to avoid weakening the muscles too much.

Step 5

Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve the pain and to help reduce swelling.

Step 6

Begin using your back gradually after a couple days of ice, rest and compression. Bend at the waist in small increments until it feels back to normal. Mayo Clinic doctors report that it can take as long as four to six weeks for a sprain to heal completely, so avoid any major lifting or bending while your pulled back muscle heals.

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