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Lumbar Strain

What Is Lumbar Strain?

A lumbar strain is a strain to the lower back. It is one of the most common back injuries and can affect the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Sports injuries, overuse or sudden injuries can cause lumbar strain.

Risk factors for developing a lumbar strain include obesity, weak back or abdominal muscles, tight hamstrings and lower back curvature.


Individuals can experience a wide range of symptoms depending on the cause and severity of the lumbar strain. Common symptoms include:

  • Low back pain

  • Low back spasms

  • Tenderness or swelling in the lower back

Treatment Options

Lumbar strains will often improve with rest and modified activity. If your pain and symptoms continue after a few weeks of self-care or are interfering with your daily activities, contact a specialist. An orthopaedic or sports medicine provider can complete an exam to understand the cause of your pain and create a treatment plan that helps relieve and manage pain.

Treatment options may include:

  • Physical therapy – A physical therapist can share exercises that help strengthen your lower back and associated muscles in your abdominal and hamstrings to help support your spine and back muscles and tendons. Your physical therapist will also show you how to modify daily activities to reduce the risk of re-injuring your back.

  • Injections – Corticosteroid and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections can help reduce swelling, relieve pain and help your injury heal.

  • Surgery – If conservative treatments do not relieve your lower back pain, or you have repeat injuries to your back, your provider may discuss surgery. At Temple Health, we offer the latest advances in spinal surgery, including minimally invasive approaches. Surgical options will vary based on the cause of your low back pain and symptoms. Your provider will review the approach that’s best for you.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of lumbar strain, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat lumbar strain.