Surgery For A Torn Back Muscle

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: August 1, 2017

Torn Back Muscle Surgery

Most muscle injuries will fully recover with the help of a conservative treatment plan, but that’s not always the case. In serious instances where the muscle suffers a serious tear or it tears in a delicate location, surgery may be necessary. Below, we take a look at how back muscles can tear, and how surgery can fix the problem.

Back Muscle Tears

Muscles connect to bones via tendon attachments on each end, and they help provide the force required for movement. When you’re participating in activities that require explosive force or sudden movements, the force across the musculotendinous can overstress the area and result in a partial or complete tear.

These types of injuries are most common during athletic activity. Torn muscles are most common in places where the muscle crosses two joints, like the hamstring, calf or quad, but you can also tear a muscle in your spine. Factors that can leave a person susceptible to a torn spine muscle include a previous muscle injury, lack of muscle strength, fatigue, dehydration and old age. Most coaches and athletes will notice more muscle injuries at the beginning of a season or a training program because the muscles are not yet conditioned for the rigors of the activity.

Torn Muscle Types and Surgical Care

A spine specialist can usually diagnose a muscle tear by listening to the patient’s description of symptoms and by conducting a physical exam. Oftentimes they can feel where the muscle has torn, especially if the area is swollen or bruised. Severity of the injury can be determined by the physical exam and strength or range of motion tests. Depending on the extent of your injury, your doctor will likely give your spinal muscle tear one of three different grades:

  • Grade 1 – Mild damage to muscle fibers with minimal loss of strength or range of motion. They typically heal on their own within 1-3 weeks.
  • Grade 2 – Significant muscle fiber tearing without a complete tear. Range of motion and strength is significantly affected. However, these injuries typically heal on their own with conservative treatment over the course of 2-4 weeks.
  • Grade 3 – A complete tear or rupture of the muscle or the attached tendon. May result in muscle defect. Swelling and bruising is present. Surgery may be necessary to reattach the torn muscle or tendon.

If Grade 3 tears are left untreated, it can result in significant functional impairment. Surgery to fix the injury will include reattaching the tendon to the bone and plenty of rest to ensure the tendon connection has healed. Once your surgeon is satisfied that enough healing has taken place, you’ll be given a physical therapy and strength training program to help get the muscle back to full health. If you only let the muscle heal through rest, it won’t re-strengthen and this will leave you susceptible to future tears and injuries.

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