Lumbosacral Spine Sprain/Strain Injuries Follow-up

Updated: Mar 11, 2015
  • Author: Andrea Radebold, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Return to Play

Symptoms usually decrease after 3 days, and they should subside between 1-6 weeks. A safe return to play is only possible when the patient feels neither pain nor discomfort, so that the spinal muscles can react and perform appropriately. Pain-avoiding behavior that is caused by any remaining symptoms could place the patient at risk for reinjury. A return to play under pain medication is not recommended because the medication may take away the body's natural warning signal to stop a painful and subsequently harmful action, thereby increasing the risk for aggravating the existing injury or causing reinjury.

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Prevention

Use of a lumbosacral muscle corset that supports all the trunk muscles, balancing the abdominal and back muscles, helps to stabilize the lumbar spine. [14]

The stabilization of the spine also depends on appropriate and fast muscle reactions to suddenly changing postures of the spine. Studies suggest that the proprioceptive abilities of the trunk muscles play a key role in the prevention and rehabilitation of low back injuries. Exercises including or emphasizing proprioceptive activities (eg, Swiss ball) help the patient to expedite recovery from the injury and may prevent further injuries. A good upright posture while the patient is standing, sitting, and lifting during everyday life and the implementation of exercise routines helps to take unnecessary strain off the spinal structures.

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Prognosis

Most (90%) lumbosacral injuries have been reported to subside within 6 weeks irrespective of treatment. The remaining 10% of such injuries may develop into chronic lumbosacral pain without treatment.

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Education

All athletes should be educated about proper warm-up exercises, proper stretching exercises, and correct weight-lifting techniques. Furthermore, firm, upright posture while the patient is standing, sitting, and lifting provides additional bracing for the spine, thus minimizing the stress on the spinal tissues.

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