awards and credentials
Last updated: Oct 6, 2021

Pulled Back

If you don’t get the proper treatment and instructions for recovery from a pulled back, you may find that your life is changed forever. You stop doing the activities you love for fear of re-injuring your back. You may even begin to gain weight. While a pulled back muscle usually isn’t serious enough to warrant drastic treatment, without a firm diagnosis and the right kind of care, you can develop a loss of muscle strength, flexibility, and even bone density. Rather than self-medicating, visit the New Jersey muscle specialist and experts in pain management at Redefine Healthcare. They can put you on the right path to recovery from the back pain caused by a pulled back muscle.

intercostal muscle strain in backWhenever you walk, run, twist or jump, you put a lot of strain on your lumbar spine, as well as the muscles and other soft tissues that support it. Because back goes through so much wear and tear, it’s no surprise that lower back injuries happen to people of every age. One of the most common causes of lower back pain, is a pulled muscle in the back.

A pulled back is another term for a muscle strain in the back. While it seems like a minor injury, it can cause moderate to severe pain and reduced mobility.

At Redefine Healthcare — with offices in Edison, Union, Paterson, and Clifton, New Jersey — you get effective pulled lower back muscle treatment to help you resume your normal day-to-day activities as soon as possible.

Symptoms of a Pulled Muscle in the Back

When you have a pulled muscle or muscle strain, your muscle fibers are stretched and torn. This damage causes the injured muscle to have a myriad of symptoms:

  • The area feels sore, tight, or achy.
  • Pain intensifies with movement and may lessen when resting.
  • It feels tender to the touch.
  • It feels stiff, making movement more difficult.

There may be visible swelling and inflammation. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may also experience muscle spasms during either rest or activity. The pain may refer to other areas, such as the lower back, leading to immobility. You may feel middle back pain, upper back pain or neck pain, causing muscle spasms in your neck.

Causes of a Pulled Muscle in the Lower Back

Symptoms of a pulled back can set in suddenly after an injury. If they develop over time, you may not notice them right away. If you overuse specific muscles by performing repetitive motions, a pulled back may take years to cause pain. Some possible causes of muscle strain in the lower back include:

  • Heavy lifting
  • High-impact sports
  • Sudden twisting
  • An impact from a car accident or fall

You may be at increased risk of experiencing a muscle strain in the back if you lead a sedentary lifestyle or have poor posture or weak abdominal muscles. Smoking and obesity are additional factors that increase your risk of pulling a muscle in your back.

Diagnosing and Treating a Pulled Back Muscle

Your specialist in pain care can usually diagnose a muscle strain based on a physical exam, medical history, and a review of how the injury occurred. Your doctor will check for spinal abnormalities and reduced range of motion during your exam. If there’s concern about an additional injury, such as a herniated disc or pinched nerve, you may need other imaging tests.

Your pain doctor may recommend that you take a break from sports activities or a job involving a lot of heavy lifting. Applying ice for 15 minutes several times a day to the area helps reduce any swelling.

You can control pain with over-the-counter medications such as naproxen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. If your pain isn’t relieved with this approach, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or prescription pain medication.

We often recommend physical therapy to help your body rebuild strength and flexibility. Your physical therapist teaches you exercises that strengthen and stretch the area that hurt. Massage or electrical muscle stimulation help loosen tight muscles. You should move as much as possible 24 hours after the onset of pain. Although it may seem counterintuitive, extended rest prolongs your symptoms and slows down your recovery.

Expert Help for a Pulled Back

If you believe you have a pulled muscle in the lower back, have your injury evaluated if symptoms don’t improve within a couple of days. Don’t ignore severe or worsening pain, swelling, or discoloration. There’s no need to wait longer than a couple of days, especially if the pain makes it difficult for you to move or you’re unable to do your normal daily activities.

Contact Redefine Healthcare muscle specialists in New Jersey for expert evaluation of your pulled back muscle or any other back pain or back injury. With state-of-the-art treatment options, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

This page was published on Oct 9, 2019, modified on Oct 6, 2021 by Dr. Freeman (Pain Management Specialist) of Redefine Healthcare
Dr. Eric D. Freeman, a highly regarded pain specialist

Dr. Eric D. Freeman, a highly regarded pain specialist in New Jersey, is board-certified and fellowship-trained in Interventional Spine and Pain Management and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is an expert in minimally invasive spinal procedures and non-surgical orthopedic care.

Dr. Freeman is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Interventional Pain Practice Society. In addition, he serves as the Immediate Past President of the New Jersey Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. Dr. Freeman is well-known in the field of pain management as a leading pain management doctor, having been named one of "America's Top Physicians."

Why Choose Redefine Healthcare?

Same-day appointments

In-network, tier-one facility

Comprehensive and compassionate pain care

Convenient locations throughout
Central & Northern NJ

24 hour turnaround on needed notes and documentation

Non-surgical, interventional pain care in Edison, NJ & Union, NJ

best hospitals pain management new jersey

Our Locations in Central and Northern NJ

  • 2500 Morris Ave, Suite 220
    Union, NJ 07083
  • 10 Parsonage Road, Suite 208
    Edison, NJ 08837
  • 922 Main Street, Suite 201
    Paterson, NJ 07503
  • 185 Fairfield Ave, Suite 2A
    West Caldwell, NJ 07006
  • 197 Cedar Lane
    Teaneck, NJ 07666
  • 200 Perrine Rd., Suite 220
    Old Bridge, NJ 08857
  • 350 Forsgate Dr.,
    Monroe Township, NJ 08831
  • 11 West 25th Street,
    Bayonne, NJ 07002