Beauty Fitness and Dermatology

Lower Back Strain in Dorsal or Thoracic Spine Region - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment for Back Strain

The dorsal or thoracic spine is that part where ribs attach to surround the lungs. Muscles, tendons and vertebrae comprise units. The units stabilize the spine and allow its motion. Injury to muscles or tendons that attach to the vertebral column at the dorsal or thoracic region of the back constitute the Back Strain. They are generally of 3 grades - Mild which is slightly pulled muscle without tearing of muscle or tendon fibers. There is no loss of strength. - Moderate which has Tearing of fibers in a muscle, tendon or at the attachment to bone. Strength is diminished. - Severe which has rupture of the muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation of fibers. Chronic strains are caused by overuse. Acute strains are caused by direct injury or overstress.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Loss of strength (moderate or severe strain).
  • Crepitation ("crackling") feeling and sound when the injured area is pressed with fingers.
  • Calcification of the muscle or its tendon (visible with X-rays).
  • Inflammation of the tendon sheath.
  • Pain with motion or stretching of the back, or generalized pain in the back.
  • Muscle spasm when moving the back.
  • Swelling along a muscle of the back.

Causes of Back Strain

  • Prolonged overuse or stretching of muscle- tendon units in the back.
  • Single violent injury or force applied to the dorsal region of the back.
  • Major exertion in an off-balance position, such as a shotputter throwing from an imperfect stance.
  • Medical history of any bleeding disorder.
  • Obesity.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Previous back injury.
  • Poor muscle conditioning.
  • Sports such as gymnastics, weight-lifting or diving.
  • Any cardiovascular medical problem that results in decreased circulation.

How to treat Back Strain

Take rest, use ice, use compression and use elevation.

  • Use ice massage 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time. Fill a large Styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle about the size of a softball.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
  • Wrap the injured back with an elasticized bandage between treatments.
  • Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling.
  • After the first 24 hours, apply heat instead of ice, if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments and ointments.

Changes in Diet

Eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity.

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