What is throwing out your back? Perhaps you’ve experienced this intense, sharp pain and thought to yourself, “I think I threw out my back!” Of course, that is a figure of speech. Your back is not actually thrown anywhere. But the pain is real! It can feel like parts of your back have moved, or that something needs to be put back in place to heal. This acute lower back pain can be very unpleasant, and can keep you sidelined from your activities.
Common Signs Of Throwing Out Your Back
Throwing out your back is characterized by a sudden, severe pain in your back. This usually occurs in the lower back, and happens during physical activity. It can be caused by a muscle spasm, arthritis, a slipped or ruptured disc, or the cause can remain a mystery. The most common cause is muscle strain or spasm. It can happen to you even if you don’t have a history of back pain or problems.
Herniated Discs and Back Pain
Due to the degree of their pain, many people assume that they have a herniated disc. A herniated or slipped disc occurs when a disc ruptures or bulges. Our spines are made up of vertebrae, and in between them are discs filled with a jelly-like center encased in a tough exterior. When a disc is herniated, the jelly-like center leaks out. This can cause pain and pressure on the spinal nerves.
More often than not, however, a disc is not the cause for the acute back pain of throwing out your back. Causes vary from person to person, and the pain may go away on its own.
Tips On Treating Your Acute Back Pain
You’re probably wondering how to stop back pain. Below are listed some common remedies to help heal a thrown out back.
- Rest – Stop what you are doing and rest. Try to lie down in a back-neutral position, such as on a hard surface rather than a soft, cushioned one. This means your spine will be aligned. Lay on your back with your head supported by a pillow and your knees bent.
- Ice it – Apply ice packs to the affected area of your back for 20 minutes. This will help with inflammation. Be sure to wrap the ice packs with a cloth towel as you don’t want the ice packs to touch the skin directly.
- Anti-inflammatories – Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as aspirin or ibuprofen. If this does not help your back, talk to your doctor.
- Heat it up – After the first 24-48 hours, you can switch from ice to heat. Apply a heating pad or other forms of heat for 20 minutes.
- Massage – Getting a massage on your lower back has the potential to help relieve pain, though it is usually only short-term relief.
Back Pain Prevention
While being able to heal lower back pain is great, it is even better if you are able to prevent throwing out your back in the first place. Below we have listed some great options that help prevent back pain.
- Stretch and strengthen your lower back. Stretching can release stored tension and help relieve pain. Strengthening your back muscles can help prevent throwing your back and other lower back pains.
- Exercise regularly. Activities that get you up and outside are great for preventing back pains. Sitting all day can actually increase your risk of back pain!
- Warm up and stretch before exercising. Before you go out and get that daily exercise, be sure to warm up with low-impact exercises, like walking, and stretch your muscles to prevent injuries.
- Maintain a healthy weight. With all that exercising, you should also be sure to maintain a healthy weight as being overweight can put unnecessary strain on your lower back.
- Keep good posture. Not standing straight and hunching over can put you at risk for back injuries.
- Lift heavy objects correctly. Keeping your elbows and arms close to your body, while lifting with your knees and legs, not with your back, will help decrease your risk of injuring your back when lifting.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can make it harder for blood to flow which deprives tissues of vital nutrients that prevent injuries.
- Wear flat shoes. High heels are okay to wear, but it should be kept in moderation if worn. Wearing high heels may increase the risk of a lower back injury.
If you are still in agony after two days, it’s time to contact a physician. If you are experiencing leg numbness or shooting pains down your leg, it’s also important to get in touch with a physician.