What is soft tissue back pain?

Soft tissue back pain is caused by an injury or strain to muscles, tendons or ligaments in the lower or middle back. This condition most commonly occurs in the lumbar (lower) spine because this section of the back is extremely flexible and supports the majority of the body’s weight. The combination of flexibility and stress makes the lumbar spine particularly prone to injury. This explains why nearly everyone experiences lower back pain at some point in their life. Back pain originating in soft tissue almost always responds to conservative nonsurgical treatment. If back pain persists for more than a few days we recommend you consult your doctor to ensure another issue is not actually causing discomfort.

Soft tissue injuries

The most common cause of back pain is soft tissue injury. These injuries often occur at inopportune times and through mechanisms not associated with injury. For example, a minor twisting motion while doing yard work may overstretch a low back muscle not normally used in this way. Of course, a major auto accident may cause obvious musculoskeletal injury, but it also causes a more subtle injury. In most cases, soft tissue back pain will heal without professional attention after a few days of taking it easy; however, severe or longer-lasting pain should be brought to the attention of your doctor. After a full review of your medical history and a physical examination, your physician will typically recommend a conservative treatment plan that can include:

  • Pain medication, like acetaminophen
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen
  • Heat therapy to increase circulation
  • Cold therapy to reduce swelling
  • Deep tissue massage to relax the back muscles
  • Physical therapy or stretching to prevent muscle spasms
  • Specific exercises to strengthen the weak back muscles
  • Limited rest while giving the injury time to heal

Laser Spine Institute

If back pain persists after exhausting conservative treatment options, surgery may be recommended — especially if a degenerative spine condition like a herniated disc or spinal arthritis is involved. Before consenting to a highly invasive traditional open spine surgical procedure, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our team can help you learn how our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery may be able to provide lasting relief.

We are pleased to offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.