Complex Injuries

Pulled Back Muscles: EP Wellness and Functional Medicine Clinic


Back discomfort sensations and symptoms could indicate pulled-back muscles. Unless you’ve experienced the condition before, determining the cause can be difficult. A pulled-back muscle can start as a sudden, sharp sting when bending, reaching, or twisting. Or it can present gradually, worsening over a few days. It is a common injury, but if left untreated could take several weeks, and in severe cases, a few months, to heal correctly. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic can help diagnose the problem and develop a customized treatment plan to restore optimal function and health.

Pulled Back Muscles

A pulled muscle describes a strained muscle.

  • A strain is a muscle or tendon injury that happens when the tissue overstretches or tears.
  • When a ligament stretches or tears, it’s called a sprain.
  • Most cases can be managed and treated at home.
  • But if the symptoms are not improving or make it difficult to move, see a doctor or chiropractor.


Common signs and symptoms of a pulled-back muscle include:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Soreness – Sore muscles that feel tight and achy usually indicate a condition that is likely to improve in a few days. More severe soreness could indicate a more significant injury.
  • Spasms – A sudden convulsive spasm in the muscle can also indicate a pull. This can feel like a sudden tightening that does not release. The muscle can continue to spasm and lead to other symptoms.
  • Cramping – A muscle can cramp can lead to increased tightness whenever trying to use the muscle.
  • Pain – Can be characterized as a constant dullness and/or soreness in most situations or, in severe cases, sharp and shooting.
  • Discomfort when moving around. If pain flares up when trying to move or use the back muscles is usually an indication that something is wrong.
  • Relief during inactivity and rest. When lying down to rest or taking a temporary break, and the symptoms disappear could also be an indication of a pulled-back muscle or another injury.


The most common causes are:

A Strained Muscle

  • This causes some damage to a region of muscle tissue, usually the result of being over-used or torn from another injury.

Sprained Ligaments

  • Involves damage to the ligaments in a joint, usually those in the spinal vertebrae.

A Herniated Disc

  • This involves damage to the discs that can leak out, irritating the surrounding tissues and nerves and can cause shifting and misalignment of the spine.

These conditions are distinct, but the symptoms can be similar.


It is important to consult a medical professional before treating an injury because symptoms of other injuries, such as disc problems or a broken bone, can resemble strains and sprains. Most treatments will utilize:

Ice and Heat

  • Ice helps reduce inflammation.
  • The faster ice can be applied to a pulled-back muscle, the quicker pain and swelling are reduced, and the healing process can begin.
  • Apply a cold pack for 15-20 minutes as soon as the injury occurs.
  • Take a 20-minute break between each cold application.
  • After the first days, alternate cold therapy with heat to increase circulation.
  • Try a 20-20-20 rule: 20 minutes of an ice pack followed by a 20-minute break, then 20 minutes of heat.
  • Repeat as necessary, allowing 20 minutes between heat or ice therapy.

Limited Rest

  • Right after a muscle strain, limiting physical activity levels and avoiding movements are recommended for a short period.
  • After the initial pain subsides, partial activity levels are recommended to help prevent the muscles from weakening.



  • Returning to activities, gentle stretching exercises can improve tissue healing by increasing blood circulation to the injured area.
  • Applying heat to the area before stretching can also help.

Strength Training

  • Ask a doctor or chiropractor about the right strength exercises for your condition.
  • Strength training will develop the muscles to prevent future injuries.

Pain Medication

  • Pain levels are an important indicator during the recovery process.
  • Pain medications relieve symptoms but do not assist with healing and should only be used short-term to provide relief.
  • If you need pain medication, consult your physician to determine the appropriate type and dosage for your situation.


  • Blood circulation to the injured tissues is increased with massage therapy.


  • A chiropractor can diagnose back pain from a muscle or disc injury and develop an individualized treatment plan.

Chiropractic Therapy


Allen, Laura. “Case Study: The Use of Massage Therapy to Relieve Chronic Low-Back Pain.” International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork vol. 9,3 27-30. 9 Sep. 2016, doi:10.3822/ijtmb.v9i3.267

Kumar, Saravana et al. “The effectiveness of massage therapy for the treatment of nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review of systematic reviews.” International journal of general medicine vol. 6 733-41. 4 Sep. 2013, doi:10.2147/IJGM.S50243

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Pulled Back Muscles: EP Wellness and Functional Medicine Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
License Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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