Low Back Strain ​

The lower segment of your back is termed as the ‘lumbar region’. When a muscle or tendon (cord connecting muscle to bone) is overstretched or torn, it produces what we call ‘strain’.  Low back strain is a type of injury that affects your back and is termed as lumbar strain.

Traumatic stress can injure the tendons and muscles in your lower back compelling them to contract and produce painful spasms. Strains are of two types: 

  •  Acute: when a muscle is abruptly stretched further than its limits. For example, during running, jumping, throwing, slipping on ice or lifting something heavy

  • Chronic: resulting from long-term repetitive movements, like the ones in gymnastics or rowing a boat. Sports that require frequent pushing and pulling, such as weight lifting or football, can cause a lumbar strain. Thus, this disorder is also known as “Weight Lifter’s Back”. In addition, baseball, tennis, golf and basketball make you vulnerable because they involve sudden twisting of the lower back. 

Not conditioning yourself for such physical action and certain postures increases your risk of strains. Postural factors include a weak back and/or abdominal muscles, excessive lower back curvature, forward-tilted pelvis and tight hamstrings (back of thigh muscles).

Presenting complaints vary from person to person. If you are suffering from low back pain you may notice some of the expected symptoms including:

  • Sudden onset of pain at the time of activity

  • Spasms (contractions) in the lower back. These convey a higher intensity of pain and can be described as pain that comes and goes in a fluctuant pattern.

  • Soreness down the lower back 

  • Limited range of movements of the​ 

It is always best to get any sort of back pain examined. Immediately contact the Musculoskeletal and Sports Medicine Service Line or 24/7 Emergency and Acute Care Services at The Aga Khan University Hospital if you notice:

  • Pain radiating down the leg

  • Fever in addition to pain

  • Weakness or abnormal sensations (prickling, tickling) in the leg

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control 

  • Numbness around the buttocks and genital region

In addition, being registered with the Family Health Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital will allow you to have regular health check-ups. At times back pain can reveal a more serious underlying disease.​

​Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​

A detailed history of your complaints and physical examination are usually sufficient to identify strains.

In selected cases they may require an X-ray or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to exclude other diseases.​

Your health care provider may suggest one or more of these treatment options: 

  • Rest- imperative after injury.

  • Ice packs and compression applied to you back

  • Exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises for healing of the lower back 

  • Education regarding the use and wearing of appropriate protective equipment

  • Painkillers (anti-inflammatory medications) as oral or cream/gel preparations​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

​Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.


​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.