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Pulled lower back? Step-by-step guide to fixing it within the first 48 hours.

Everything I did to recover from a pulled lower back injury from deadlifting to recover in the first 48 hours.

DISCLAIMER: this is not medical advice and any injury and recovery process should be consulted with your doctor or physical therapist, including medications.

I pulled a muscle/ligament in my lower back deadlifting with improper form 48 hours ago and the pain was excruciating. It hurt to walk, my back was spasming, and my range of motion was severely impaired. The first 48 hours is key to the healing process and can determine long term effects if not treated properly. So here is everything I did immediately following the injury.

  • The worst thing is bedrest. As much as it hurts the best thing is to keep moving. I did hip bridges to strengthen my lower back and core. Hold a hip bridge for 5 sets of 20-30 seconds or as tolerated.

  • Then immediately put ice packs on the effected area within the first few hours to decrease inflammation.

  • Ibuprofen 600mg every 6-8 hours as well for reduced inflammation.

By then the back will tighten up and the spasms are from a defense mechanism to protect the spinal cord. As painful as they are it is the body’s natural response and will resolve within 48 hours if you continue to do the appropriate steps.

  • I did a half hour of lower back stretches that night to keep the muscles loose. Some stretches included child’s pose, knees to chest, and hip openers. It’s good to hold these poses for over a minute if tolerated to release the fascia tissue and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.

  • When you go to sleep there are two positions to decrease strain on the spine and one to avoid at all costs. The one to AVOID is sleeping on your stomach this puts too much pressure on the lower back and can cause worsening tightness. The one that relieves the most pressure is sleeping on your back with 2-3 pillows tucked under your knees, this takes off all the pressure and keeps the spine in a neutral position. The next best position is on your side with a pillow between the knees.

When you wake up the back will be very tight and this is normal but take some more ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and start the day with ice and more stretches. It is important to keep moving and not fully rest to avoid seriously reduced range of motion long term.

  • to loosen back muscles apply heat packs to the affected area.

  • I also went for a 30 minute massage to keep the lower back and hips loose.

  • I biked for 45 minutes on an indoor stationary.

  • Stretched for another 30 minutes and walked for an hour.

  • Continue to apply heat and take ibuprofen every 8 hours for the first 24 hours.

The next day the spasms should lessen, they will still be there but not as back. Keep walking and applying heat. Stationary biking will help as well.

  • start to include spinal twists in the stretching.

  • add high plank holds to tighten the muscles in your core.

This should help repair the muscles and ligaments surrounding the lower back and keep it safe. It is important to continue these movements and further progressions for more progress. It has been a week since I injured my lower back from the time I’m sharing this advice with you And I am feeling about 85% compared to my injury which put me at about 5% functionality.

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