What Does It Mean to “Throw Your Back Out”?

It can happen in the most innocuous ways like bending down to tie your shoes. You are suddenly in extreme pain, you can barely stand up straight, and getting into a car is a non-starter. You probably have your own story about throwing your back out, and you remember it well. So exactly what does it mean to “throw your back out”?

The Culprit Is Usually a Muscle Sprain

In the category of “you know it when you feel it” is your immediate acknowledgment that you have hurt your back, usually in the lumbar region of your spine. Most of the time it is a temporary condition that will resolve within a few days unless it involves a slipped disc.

People commonly hurt their lower back while lifting something heavy and using the wrong posture or form. Lower back pain increases with age or with physically demanding jobs adding to the wear and tear on your spine. At the same time you can “throw your back out” even if you have a job where you sit at a desk all day, especially with inadequate back support. 

What Are the Symptoms of Throwing Your Back Out?Adult woman in casual clothes stands bend over near a flowering iris bush, holding her back in pain.

You will quickly know you have hurt your back by experiencing some or all of the following:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Lower back stiffness
  • Limited mobility
  • Pain even while at rest or with specific movements
  • Trouble maintaining proper posture

How to Find Relief

Utilize ice for 20 minutes several times a day. After day 3, you can use a heating pad for relief from the pain.

Move around as much as you can without making the discomfort worse.

Take OTC anti-inflammatory medications.

Sleep in a fetal position or with a pillow under your pelvis.

Rest helps heal the area.

Avoid bending and twisting. Don’t lift anything heavy. 

When to See a Spine Specialist

Lower back pain issues should get better within 2 weeks. If you are not able to manage the symptoms at home, or they seem to be getting worse, it’s time to contact a spine specialist like Texas Spine Associates in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Texas Spine Associates will create a personalized treatment plan based on your diagnosis. It may consist of treatments like muscle relaxers or steroid injections into the site.

If the pain from throwing out your back does not improve with time and at-home treatments, don’t delay contacting Texas Spine Associates at (972) 987-0969 or request an appointment through our secure online form. We have 9 spine clinics throughout the Dallas area including in Arlington, Cleburne, Fort Worth, Flower Mound, Granbury, Irving, North Irving, Southlake, and Weatherford.