Stiff back muscles will lead to pain in the lumbar region. This may develop gradually or – as with lumbago – occur suddenly. Older people are not the only ones affected. Due to postural damage caused by sedentary activities, lack of exercise and increased stress, stiff back muscles can be seen more and more frequently also in young adults, and even children.
Back pain due to stiff back muscles
Causes and treatment options
Causes of a stiff back
Inappropriate mechanical stress of the back muscles, lack of exercise, an unfavorable posture, hypomagnesaemia and one-sided stresses can cause a stiff back. People who spend much of their time sitting at work, athletes and those who are overweight are affected most often. Pain, muscle rigidity and restricted mobility are the unpleasant consequences of weak or dysfunctional trunk and back muscles. If left untreated people with stiff back muscles will usually adopt a posture to help relieve pain. This, in turn, increases the symptoms, and can cause shortening of the tendons in the long run. That is why you need to act fast when you feel the first signs of stiffened muscles in your back.
Common symptoms of a stiff back
In the case of tension, a muscle or muscle group contracts involuntarily. This contraction persists for a longer period, leading to rigidity of the muscle or muscle group. Tension can occur in different areas of the body. If the back muscles are affected, people primarily suffer from pulling pain in the area of the lumbar spine. This pain will develop slowly, increasing with movements or pressure. The tension can be felt in the form of knots or bulges. In the event of persistent tension in the back muscles, the muscles will shorten. Restricted mobility and a posture to help relieve pain are the result. Acute lumbago is a particular variant of back pain. It is characterized by severe and sudden pain with a pronounced restriction of mobility.
Consult a doctor when you experience the following
If the pain radiates from the back to the buttocks and legs, it may be an indication of a herniated disc or an irritation of the sciatic nerve. If this is the case, please contact your doctor. If back pain occurs after an accident, or there is an underlying condition such as rheumatism or osteoporosis, you should always seek medical advice.
In the event of unusually strong pain, numbness or paralysis of the legs as well as accompanying symptoms that cannot be explained, such as fever or urinary incontinence, you should contact your doctor right away.
Help in case of a stiff back
In the event of a stiff back, treatment targets include loosening the muscles and pain relief:
- Physiotherapy, local heat treatments as well as anti-inflammatory medication and pain killers are used to treat pain in the lumbar region and in case of acute lumbago.
- If hypomagnesaemia (lack of magnesium) is responsible for the stiff back, taking high-dosemagnesium supplements, after consultation your doctor, is recommended.
- In addition, relaxation techniques such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen or yoga can be useful.
In many cases, the measures mentioned above and short-term rest can help acute stiffness of the back muscles. Treatment should start as early as possible to avoid the so-called pain spiral: The pain will lead to a posture to help relieve that pain, and to stress, which, in turn, will lead to tension. After a while, the body will develop a memory of pain leading to persistent chronic symptoms.
Acute pain relief and prevention using back supports and back orthoses
Targeted training will build up and strengthen the trunk and back muscles. An active lifestyle, the reduction of excess weight, and the prevention of incorrect postures and therapies can also prevent recurring tension in the lumbar region of the back. Furthermore, medical back supports and back orthoses support treatment effectively, counteracting a recurring stiff back. Here, various supports and orthoses can be used.
Back supports stabilize the lumbar spine
For people suffering from a stiff back, a pleasant massage with circular pressure, the so-called friction massage, is especially helpful. Active supports such as LumboTrain feature a triangular friction pad in the support, which provides a massage of lumbar region of the spine during movement. This relaxes tight muscles and alleviates pain. The support is made of a breathable and stretchy material, offering a high degree of wearing comfort.
Back orthoses relieve stress on the lumbar spine
Stabilizing orthoses such as LordoLoc stabilize and relieve the lumbar spine using built-in corset stays. These are adjusted to the curve of the spine in the lumbar area, fit closely, and are comfortable to wear. Individually adjustable tensioning straps ensure an ideal stabilization of the lumbar spine. The tighter the two straps are pulled, the better the support and relief of the lumbar spine provided by the orthosis. Practical Velcro fastenings and hand straps simplify donning and individual adjustment. The orthosis is made of a breathable and particularly skin-friendly material, offering pleasant wearing comfort.
The LumboLoc stabilizing orthosis relieves and straightens the lumbar spine. It is a strong partner in combatting pain in the lumbar region, in cases of acute low back pain (lumbago), and to support moderately weak back muscles. The corset stays built in to the reverse support the lumbar spine, and the front also applies compression, adjustable on demand. LumboLoc can be adjusted individually and offers a high degree of wearing comfort thanks to its elastic and breathable material. The perfect fit stabilizes the lumbar spine, and helps to adopt a pain-free posture. Practical hand straps allow you to easily put on and individually adjust the orthosis.