When Back Pain is Caused by Muscle Strain

The one thing that all patients with back pain agree upon is that there are very few positions one can stand, sit or lay down which don’t involve some back movement or support. About 85-90% of us will have back pain at some point in our lives. Here we discuss who is more likely to get back pain caused by muscle strain, treatments, and what doesn’t work.

Common causes


The most common cause of back pain is the result of muscle strain. We have talked in other blogs about stretching exercises and how they can be used as a preventative measure to avoid back pain. Muscle strain is a fairly common condition which can be caused by overexertion or lack of muscle mass as the result of a lack of activity.

On the one hand, professions with a high incidence of back pain are those you’d suspect of overexertion: auto mechanics, warehouse and factory workers, manual laborers and construction workers. These are people who have jobs which require quite a bit of physical strength, and they commonly overexert themselves performing strenuous activity.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be high on the list of those who suffer from back pain: Office workers, dentists, and new mothers. Mothers? It seems that picking up a baby several dozen times a day and carrying the child (plus their diaper bag) around for several hours a day can make a woman’s back hurt.

The same is true for dentists and office workers, who don’t necessarily overexert themselves as much as they do give in to the strain of standing while bent over a face or sitting in a chair 8 hours a day.


As you would suspect, an OTC and light exercise are usually enough to get a person on the road to recovery. Other things which help are hot showers, a heating pad, and our personal favorites, massage therapy and physical therapy.

What doesn’t work

Surprisingly, according to a study published in JAMA, opioids don’t do much for treating chronic pain. Although, in all fairness, a person who is deeply addicted to opiates probably isn’t thinking much about their back.

Bed rest is also ineffective, as it weakens the muscles which need to be strong to help fight back pain.

If you have back pain from muscle strain which lasts more than a few days, see us. A gentle, soothing massage may be what you need to get on the road to recovery. Remember, if you have pain as the result of an auto accident, see us right away. There is no reason to suffer.

When you’re injured in a car accident, there is no reason to delay treatment due to lack of insurance or while waiting for insurance approval. Here at Northeast Portland Chiropractic, we treat car accident cases with zero out-of-pocket cost to the patient. Call 503-493-9730.