Woman in orange sweater experiencing pain from a pulled muscle in back

Weak muscles: Understanding and treating a pulled muscle in your back.

Ever had a sudden twinge or ache in your back when you least expected it? It happens to the best of us. But understanding and taking care of a pulled back muscle doesn't have to be a mystery.

So, whether you're currently nursing a back injury or simply arming yourself with knowledge for the future, join us as we delve into the particulars of understanding and treating a pulled muscle in your back.

Pulled back muscle symptoms.

So, you've felt that sudden twinge in your back, and now you're wondering if it's a pulled muscle.

Let's look closer at the telltale signs to help you identify if you're dealing with a pulled back muscle.

  • Pain. The most common symptom is pain in your back. It can range from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing pain.
  • Stiffness. You might notice stiffness in your back, making it difficult to move or bend as you usually would.
  • Limited mobility. A pulled muscle in your back can restrict your range of motion, making it hard to perform certain movements without discomfort.
  • Muscle spasms. Some people experience muscle spasms in the affected area, which can add to the discomfort.
  • Tenderness to touch. The injured area may feel tender when you touch it, and you might notice swelling or bruising.
  • Radiating pain. The pain can sometimes radiate to other parts of your body, such as the hips or legs.
  • Pain with activity. The pain may worsen when you try to use the affected back muscle, like bending over or twisting your torso.


What causes a pulled back muscle?

Let’s explore why pulled back muscles happen in the first place.

  • Overexertion. Sometimes, we push ourselves a little too hard, whether at the gym, during a weekend DIY project, or even just lifting something heavy.
  • Poor posture. Slouching at your desk can put extra stress on your back, leading to muscle strain in your back over time. Luckily, there are easy ways to practice good posture.
  • Sudden movements. Ever made a quick, unexpected twist or turn? These sudden movements can cause a muscle to pull or tear.
  • Lack of warm-up. Skipping the warm-up before physical activity can leave your muscles unprepared for the stress they're about to endure.
  • Lifting incorrectly. Not using proper lifting techniques can strain your back muscles when lifting heavy objects.
  • Weak muscles. If your back muscles aren't well-conditioned, they're more vulnerable to injury. Regular exercise can help strengthen them.
  • Age. Our back muscles can lose elasticity as we age, making them more prone to injury.
  • Previous injuries. If you've had a back injury before, you might be more susceptible to future muscle strains.

Take care of your back, practice good posture, and use proper lifting techniques – your muscles will thank you.


How to heal a pulled muscle in your back

So, you've got a pulled back muscle – now what?

Here's your roadmap to recovery.

  • Rest. First things first, give your back a break. Avoid activities that strain the injured muscle in your back. Rest is your best friend in the early stages.
  • Ice. Apply ice wrapped in a cloth for about 15-20 minutes every couple of hours during the first 48 hours. It helps reduce pain and swelling caused by pulled muscles.
  • Compression. Using a compression bandage gently around the injured area can provide support and reduce swelling.
  • Over-the-counter pain relief. Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy. Your healthcare provider may recommend physical therapy exercises for your injured back to strengthen and rehabilitate your back muscles.
  • Heat therapy. After the first 48 hours, you can switch to heat – a warm shower, heating pad, or warm compress for an injured back can help relax tense muscles.
  • Supportive devices. Depending on the severity, your provider might suggest using a brace or supportive belt for a pulled muscle.
  • Listen to your body. Above all, listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right, don't push through it. Give yourself the time and care you need to heal a pulled muscle in your back.

Be patient with yourself, follow your healthcare provider's advice, and don't hesitate to seek professional help at CityMD if the pain persists or worsens.


Pulled muscle in your back? Visit CityMD.

Healing a pulled muscle in your back might take time and patience, but it's absolutely doable.

If you need professional guidance, visit your nearest CityMD urgent care center. Our experienced healthcare providers are here to help you get back to feeling your best.

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We’re ready to care for you.

Visit any CityMD urgent care location in your community today for an evaluation with one of our expert providers.