Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute

Thoracic or Lumbar Sprain or Strain

woman with lumbar sprain wearing lumbar brace corset

Thoracic or Lumbar Sprain or Strain are the most common causes of low back pain. The back is prone to this strain because of its weight-bearing function and involvement in moving, twisting and bending. Thoracic or lumbar muscle strain is caused when muscle fibers are abnormally stretched or torn. Thoracic or lumbar sprain is caused when ligaments, the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together, are torn from their attachments. Both of these can result from a sudden injury or from gradual overuse.

When the thoracic or lumbar spine is strained or sprained, the soft tissues become inflamed. This inflammation causes pain and may cause muscle spasms. Thoracic or lumbar strain or sprain can be very debilitating.

Symptoms of a strain or sprain include:

  • Pain that gets worse when you move
  • Muscle cramping or spasms (sudden uncontrollable muscle contractions)
  • Decreased function and/or range of motion of the joint (difficulty walking, bending forward or sideways, or standing straight)

In some cases, the person may feel a pop or tear at the time of the injury.

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