Symptoms of back muscle strain include pain and stiffness in the muscles of the back or in the buttocks and legs, according to WebMD. Pain that gets worse when stretching, bending, sneezing or coughing is also indicative of back muscle strain.
The symptoms of back strain are similar to the symptoms of other, more serious conditions such as nerve damage, according to WebMD. As a result, a professional diagnosis is necessary before considering treatment options. If pain and stiffness in the back is accompanied by bowel or bladder problems, immediate medical attention is necessary.
Typically, doctors diagnose back muscle strain as a result of a comprehensive examination. If pain does not go away after conservative treatment, X-rays, MRIs and CT scans may be necessary to conclusively diagnose back muscle strain, according to WebMD.
Treatment for back muscle strain include the application of ice and heat, according to WebMD. Ice reduces pain and swelling and is typically used in 20- or 30-minute periods immediately following physical activity. Heat should be applied only after several days of ice treatment, once swelling has passed. Heat is typically administered in the form of an electric pad, a hot water bottle or a warm bath. Other treatments include painkillers, supports and physical therapy.