When the body is in poor shape, it does not take much to overstretch a muscle or put a tear in a ligament, both which cause lumbosacral strains or sprains. When this happens, a spasm will immobilize the muscles in the injured area, acting as a splint to protect the ligaments and joints from further damage.
Usually ligament injuries occur from a traumatic event, and depending on the severity of the injury, they can take from six weeks to a full year to heal. Many things can happen to a ligament upon injury. The ligament can be strained or sprained or it can tear or it can break all together. Treatments for these different types of injuries are different.
The ligaments which control your back joints can be damaged by an accidental fall, twist or slip, much like the ligaments in your ankle which are damaged by a sprain. A sprained back comes from stretched and damaged pelvic ligaments. The cause of back sprain is very similar to the cause of ankle sprain and the treatment and recovery process can and should be the same as well. Firm support for the pelvic ligaments will help to protect them from further strain while they repair and become strong again.
People are more likely to continue activity with a sprained back than they are to keep walking on a sprained ankle. This is mainly because of the perceived difficulty of supporting the injured ligaments by means of a firm binding. But it is important to note that the danger of ligament damage is much greater in the case of your back than any other part of your body.
Frequent Causes of Back Ligament Injury
We often shift all of our weight to one leg when forced to stand for long periods. Most people favor the same leg out of habit. When we do this, two-thirds of our body weight is now stretching the ligaments on one side of our pelvis. This simple act causes spinal distortion and postural misalignment. Eventually these ligaments can become as severely distorted as from a serious, sudden injury to the back.
Poor posture is another minor act that can cause major ligament damage. It is tiring to remain standing for a long period of time in situations such as waiting in line, standing up at a party and shopping. Without even noticing many people will compensate for this fatigue by slumping over. When we do that, the entire weight of our body begins pulling against the ligaments in the pelvis and lower back. Years of this can take a toll and cause these ligaments to become stretched and weakened so they cannot properly control our joints. This can cause discomfort and even pain from the simple strain of standing erect.
Work situations are also a common culprit when it comes to ligament strain in the back, from lifting, bending and or twisting which keep our backs under constant or repeated strain. When ligaments become over-stretched they can no longer hold the back joints in proper position and a serious back-sprain condition can result. Click here to learn Lifting Techniques.
Obviously sports are a primary cause for ligament injury and back sprain, although exercise is a good way to strengthen the muscles in our back and prevent ligament injury. Because our backs are vulnerable to strain, even much needed exercises that keep our muscles in shape and our backs strong can be damaging to our joints. In particular, racket sports and any other activities that required exaggerated movement of the spine, over time, can do damage. So while engaging in sports, be mindful of protecting your joints and practicing proper technique to keep from injuring your back.
Weight is another contributor to ligament strain in the back. Every extra pound that we carry around adds to the stress on our backs, particularly extra weight in the abdominal area. This type of weight causes abnormal posture or a sway back to compensate for the extra baggage in front. Aerobic exercises that burn fat, strength exercises that build muscle and exercises, like yoga, that concentrate on building a strong body core and increasing flexibility are all helpful in getting your weight under control.
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