Low back strain is an abnormal stretching or
tearing of the muscles in the lower back that help support the
spine and the weight of the upper body.
It most often occurs as a result of a sudden extension
contraction usually in combination with a twisting motion, or
faulty posture such as excessive lumbar curvature (lordosis),
flat back or scoliosis.
Low back strains are often characterized by pain around the low
back and upper buttocks and/or muscle spasms that are generally
relieved with rest.
A low back sprain is an abnormal stretching or
tearing of any of the many ligaments that connect the bones of
the lower spine (lumbar vertebrae).
The most common type of sprain involves the lumbar facet joints
and typically occurs when an athlete is bent forward and twisting
while attempting to lift or move an object.
Low back sprains are characterized by pain around the low back
and upper buttocks and/or low back muscle spasms that are
generally relieved with rest.
Spondylolysis is a degeneration of the bones of
the spine (vertebrae) - often congenital - that manifests as a
Spondylolsis, by itself, rarely produces symptoms unless there is
a forceful hyperextension of the spine or a disc herniation
In these cases, athletes with spondylolsis typically report pain
and stiffness in the low back that increases after physical
activity rather than during it.
Sports movements such as gymnastics, weight lifting, blocking in
football, serving in tennis, spiking in volleyball, or swimming
the butterfly stroke hyperextend the spine and typically cause
Spondylolisthesis is a forward slipping or
displacement of a bone of the spine (vertebrae) in relation to
the one below it (typically the L5 vertebrae slipping on S1).
Often caused by a direct blow, sudden twist or chronic low back
strain, spondylolisthesis is more common among girls and those
athletes with excessive lumbar curvature (hyperlordosis).
Athletes with spondylolisthesis typically report pain and
stiffness in the low back that increases after physical activity
rather than during it.
They may feel the need to change positions or self-manipulate the
low back frequently in an attempt to reduce the pain.
If great enough, the displacement of the vertebrae may also
trigger some neurological deficits.
Sacroiliac dysfunction is an abnormal movement
or misalignment (either anterior or posterior rotation), where
the sides of the pelvis (ilium) join the base of the spine
Most often resulting in pain, swelling and point tenderness over
the rear of the pelvis, low back, or upper buttocks, rotation of
the ilium can be caused by any number of improper movements
- Twisting with both feet on the ground
- Stepping too far down and landing heavily on one leg
- Forward bending with the knees locked during lifting