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Spine and Back Health

Can you reaggravate a lumbar sprain?

08/02/2010

Question:

As a result of a work injury I suffered a severe lumbar sprain. I had 2 1/2 months of chiropractic care resulting in very low pain (on a scale of 1-10 a 2). It has now flared up to about a 6 after carrying a few light weight items (5 lbs or less) up and down about 15 steps, also standing for about 4 hours straight. Wondering if this is an injury that will reoccur when doing minimal activities? Or am I doomed to do nothing as to not aggravate the situation?

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. If you do, indeed, have a lumbar sprain (be cautious, because this seems to be the automatic default diagnosis that anyone with Worker’s Comp is given when they have back pain after an injury) these injuries can be very difficult to get to heal completely. The problem is that the pain often subsides before the injury is fully healed, which leads the patient to think it’s okay to increase physical activity, but the injury isn’t actually healed yet. This frequently leads to re-aggravations and if that happens repeatedly it can cause the injury to fail to heal properly. Eventually, though, this type of injury is supposed to heal. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University