If you've got a strained back, you're dealing with the severe pain caused by overstretched muscles and tendons. It can be debilitating regardless of the severity of the strain. Speed your recovery and treat your strained back with the following method.
Ensure it's just a strained back. Before you start to treat a strained back, you need to make sure that that's what you're dealing with. Ideally, a doctor should rule out the possibility that the victim has suffered something worse like a spinal injury.
Take something for the pain. A strained back usually means pain and inflammation. This can be treated with naproxen sodium (like Aleve) or any type of ibuprofen, such as Motrin. Again, these remedies are only good for treating back injuries after more severe injuries have been ruled out.
Get comfortable. Anyone dealing with a strained back should be positioned as comfortably as possible. This won't necessarily be a pain-free position, but it should relieve some discomfort. Heating pads or insulated sleeping pads are always helpful for a strained back. Place it directly on the strained back. Then, place pillows or padding to support the person's knees (if he's lying on his back) or against his stomach and back (if he's lying on his side). A strained back needs much time to heal without adding any more stress to it and that's why a comfortable position is so important.
Use ice or heat. Immediately after the injury, treat the strained back with ice or heat. If the back pain started immediately, ice is better to numb the area and prevent swelling. Ice should be applied every half hour every few hours for the first 2 - 4 days after the sprain. On the other hand, if the strained back pain came on gradually, heat is a better way to treat the pain. Apply heat in the same fashion as you would ice, every half hour for the first few days.
Get a massage. Anyone with a strained back will appreciate a gentle massage. It helps to treat minor discomfort and it will also loosen up any stiff or tense muscles. The lower back should be focused on, as this is likely where most of the pain is concentrated. If you're up for it, consider getting a professional massage by a trained therapist. You should relay your specific areas of pain to the massage therapist prior to beginning your massage.
You might also consider talking to your chiropractor to see if such treatment would help with your sprained back. (Beware though - depending on the injury, sometimes these treatments can bring on more pain rather than relieve it.)
Use heat until the pain subsides. The second or third day after the back sprain, try to keep heat on it. A hot water bottle, a heat pack or a heat patch will work just fine. Use as much or as little heat as you like whenever necessary. Continue to use heat, medication and rest to treat a back strain and talk to your doctor if your back isn't back to normal in a few weeks.