How long does a lower back sprain take to heal?

Are you tired of your lower back pain reminding you of the time that guy in college broke your heart? Yeah, me too. Unfortunately, like that ex-boyfriend, lower back sprains can take a while to fully heal.

What is a Lower Back Sprain?

First things first: what even is a lower back sprain? A sprain occurs when one or more ligaments are stretched or torn. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones and hold joints together.

So basically, when you suffer from a lower back sprain, you’ve messed up those little rubber bands that keep everything together around your spine like some kind of twisted game of Kerplunk gone wrong.

Causes of Lower Back Sprains

How did this happen? Turns out there’s all sorts of shenanigans that can lead to an unfortunate injury such as this:

  • Lifting heavy objects without proper form
  • Twisting suddenly
  • Falling onto your tailbone
  • Sporting activities (ever tried yoga on ice?)
  • Car accidents (thanks for nothing windshields)

Basically anything besides sitting perfectly still wrapped in bubble wrap could potentially cause issues with our lumbar region. Seems fair?

Pro tip: You might think it’ll be edgy and cool wearing bubble wrap instead – well don’t bother kiddo the marketing people at Amazon have already thought about it!


Now let’s get into the good stuff: how will we know if we’re dealing with a mere twinge or if full-on underwear wrestling match occurred between two discs in our backsides? Here are some common symptoms:

  1. Pain which may radiate down into legs and feet.
  2. Muscle spasms and stiffness
  3. Soreness upon touch
  4. Decreased mobility in bending over /standing upright.
    5.Headache but only because the pain spreads everywhere creating a domino effect of dysfunction

Fun times, right?

Severity and Grading

As with most things, the degree of severity will determine the roadmap for healing.

Sprains are typically graded on a scale of 1-3:

  • Grade 1: Microscopic tearing or stretching. Minimal damage which heals pretty quickly (around two weeks).
  • Grade 2: Partial tear. Presence of some bruising and swelling along with limited mobility.
  • Grade 3: Complete tear. Significant swelling and obvious tissue damage resulting in severe loss of function that could take up to eight weeks to heal completely.

Hot tip: If “Microscopic Tearing” sounds like you’ve been taken over by microscopic creatures, now might be a good time to bust out those monster movies

First Aid for Lower Back Sprain

If we’re lucky enough to catch it early thanks to too much Sedentary stream surfing have no fear! Here are some first aid tips:

  • Use ice packs wrapped around a cloth on the affected area for twenty-minute intervals several times per day
  • Be sure not lift anything heavy during this period
    -Proceed with gentle stretches only when comfortable
  • Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also help alleviate discomfort more effectively than attempting bench press records

Seem simple enough? Well that’s just because I haven’t told you about needing help putting pants on yet….

Rehabilitation Exercises

At this stage where you’re thinking ‘I don’t know how long I can get away with wearing sweatpants’, it’s crucially important thing’ll keep moving/moving onwards never give up momentum even if at snail speed.

Rehabilitation exercises work well especially done under medical supervision so find yourself an appropriately qualified Physiotherapist(PT) who’ll guide your routine towards your back sprain recovery journey.If needed ask your GP for a referral to one.

Here are some exercises you may eventually come across:

  1. Knee-to-Chest Stretch: Lie flat on your back with legs straight then bring one knee up toward chest laying hold behind the knee and pulling it in slowly towards the chest.Hold for a few seconds til comfortable returning leg to starting position. alternating legs so each gets a piece of this sweet relief.
  2. Hamstring stretches: while sitting down, stretch out legs pushing hands towards toes until feeling strain under your groin.These often help increase flexibility with resulting benefit that lower spine experiences less tension in everyday movements
    3.Core Strengthening Exercises such as curl-ups, planks also can fortify muscles supporting weakened structures
    Round two anyone?

How Long Does Lower Back Sprain Take to Completely Heal

Now we get into the big contentious question: how long does something like this actually take? And where is my Pulitzer prize???

Okay let’s not hold our breath but moving swiftly along…

Given that every sprain severity level mirrors different athlete personalities I’ll describe estimated days required based on three personas resembling various NFL players from recent known events(emphasis supplied):

  • Part-time Bench-warmer – 17 to 21 days(if allocated top-notch PT )
  • Jukebox Hero Running Back – 28-42 days(never broken down despite all risks associated with position)
  • All-round Team Quarterback(no injury too trivial) – Up unto 3 months(perfect example “Baker Mayfield”)

Please keep in mind these timelines are rough estimates and not promises made by an actual mermaid.

Recovery Time Techniques

Although recovery periods vary according individual circumstances there ways hasten it including proper use following techniques:

Rest & Relaxation

Remember when you used assume resting is just procrastination? Yeah forget about that! Though never heard before relaxation aids quicker muscle healing giving entire pelvic region much needed break

Good Sleep Patterns

Irrespective of silliness, sleep is incredibly essential during recovery periods so be sure getting enough zzzs each night.(Strangely even counted goats are not effective substitute)

Proper Diet and Hydration

Focus on more water intake esp encourages fluid transmission between muscles whilst also helps reduce inflammation. A diet rich in proteins,vitamins/minerals(A,K,C,D), fibers seems positively linked faster healing too.

Catch you at the salad bar?

When to Seek Medical Attention

Certain symptoms may linger or worsen requiring medical evaluation.If experience any below ailments kindly contact your GP:

  • Intense pain hindering movement
  • Loss of control over bowel or bladder movements
  • Severe numbness in legs, feet
    (psst paying attention yet?)

Early diagnosis often results early treatment fast-tracking recovery promising less total downtime.

Final Thoughts and Conviction

Administering adequate treatments for lower back sprains make a considerable difference to complete recovery time.These will include rest coupled with exercises recommended by appropriate practitioners following up until full range motion successfully restored.

In the meantime these tactics can effectively help deal with whatever level you’re currently gracing/challenged(choose whichever!):

  1. Apply cold packs regularly while resting and avoiding strenuous activities.
  2. Begin Physiotherapy guided rehabilitation exercises as soon as comfortable to do so
  3. Prioritize sleep hydration & nutrition along with PT-sanctioned stretching routines every waking moment!

So stay strong out there like that tiny sapling among all brutal roughhousing giant redwoods bearing those hardy scars promoting them as empowering war wounds;)

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