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What’s the best way to treat a lower back strain?

A lower back strain is a common injury often caused by overexertion, a slip-and-fall accident or motor vehicle crash. If you're suffering from this injury, your doctor can conduct an examination and order a variety of tests to determine exactly what's happening.

If you're diagnosed with a lower back strain, here are some of the best treatment strategies:

  • Ice therapy: Doing this several times per day can reduce both pain and swelling, which speeds up the healing process.
  • Heat therapy: After two to three days of ice, you can switch to heat. This will loosen your muscles, allowing you to regain full range of motion.
  • Use some type of support: For example, a belt specifically designed for lower back strains may provide you with additional support as you recover.
  • Physical therapy: Depending on the extent of your injury, your doctor may suggest physical therapy to regain range of motion and prevent against future injuries.

Once you make a full recovery, talk to your doctor about exercises you can do to strengthen your lower back muscles. Doing so can help you prevent the same type of strain in the future.

If you injure your back on the job, stop what you're doing and report the injury to your supervisor. You want to make it clear that you were injured at work, as some employers may argue that you had a pre-existing condition.

If your doctor suggests a long period of rest, file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. The money you receive can help you with medical bills and other expenses while you're out of work.

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