You’ll know it when you feel it – you turn a certain way or bend down to pick something up and searing pain shoots through your back. You then find yourself unable to move for a number of days.

An injured back is more than a mere inconvenience. The pain and discomfort can make it extremely difficult to move around and go about your daily life. Luckily, if you act quickly, you can promote healing and be back on your feet in no time!

Along with treatment options such as chiropractic care and massage therapy, there’s no need to let a thrown-out back impede your life. If you find yourself dealing with back pain and stiffness, here’s what you need to know about having a back injury and what you should do ASAP.

What Does It Mean to Throw Out Your Back?

The term “throwing out your back” is a way to describe what happens when the muscles in your back have been strained. This can be caused by lifting heavy objects, overworking, stretching too far, or having improper posture. Although this type of damage happens primarily to the back muscles, it can cause damage to blood vessels, tissues, and ligaments as well.

Back strain usually occurs in the lower back area.

Symptoms of a Strained Back

It may be difficult to determine if you’ve thrown your back out or simply have back pain. Plus, everyone experiences a strained back differently.

If you are experiencing back pain, here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Lower back pain that starts around your buttocks but doesn’t go into the legs
  • Stiffness in your lower back
  • Limited range of motion in your back
  • The inability to maintain a normal posture (due to either stiffness or pain)
  • Back pain that lasts for two weeks

If you notice any of these symptoms, there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing a strained back and should seek treatment.

What To Do If You’ve Thrown Out Your Back: Steps to Take ASAP

Chiropractor helping female patient with low back pain

The sooner you address your back pain, the sooner you can be on the mend! Here are some steps you should take ASAP if you have thrown out your back:

1. Use Ice and Heat

One of the best things you can do immediately following an injury is to apply ice to the injured area. This will help prevent inflammation from occurring and promote quick healing.

The day after the injury, begin applying a warm compress which will help relax the muscles. Overall, hot and cold packs will aid in alleviating the pain.

2. Rest Your Back

In order to heal your back you need to rest your muscles and give them time to recover. You can use pillows to support your back and reduce strain on the muscles. Lying flat on your back on a hard surface is also ideal in helping you heal.

3. Manage the Pain

When you throw out your back, you want to focus on pain management as soon as possible. Treating the pain will help you get adequate rest to promote healing. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) will help reduce inflammation and help you feel more comfortable.

4. Move Around

While rest is important to promote healing, we also recommend that you keep moving around to prevent back stiffness. Don’t push yourself back into an exercise routine just yet. Instead ease yourself into simple movements after a couple of days of rest.

You can start by doing gentle stretching. Just stay away from vigorous exercise, heavy lifting, and twisting.

5. See a Doctor

If none of the above works, it’s time to visit your doctor to rule out any serious conditions or causes of your pain. However, you should see a doctor immediate if you cannot stand, feel numbness, have a fever, or are experiencing abnormal bowel movements. These can all indicate something more serious than back strain. 

At this point, your doctor may prescribe different treatments to address your thrown-out back or may send you for an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI to check for more serious issues. They can also prescribe stronger pain medications or physiotherapy.

6. Book a Massage or Chiropractic Appointment

Whether you are on the mend or still experiencing pain, chiropractors can help keep your body aligned by adjusting your spine. This can help get you back in shape and ease your pain. Chiropractors also utilize Muscle Release Technique that can help with pain related to specific movements. 

While most people think of massage as something for relaxation, massage therapy is a great option for treating back strain as well! A deep tissue massage can help alleviate tension caused by strained or pulled muscles and improve range of motion issues caused by scar tissue or adhesions.

Tips to Keep Your Back Healthy

Of course, prevention is the key to avoiding a thrown-out back. Here are some ways that you can keep your back in tip-top shape:

  • Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise that focuses on your core helps to keep your back muscles strong and properly supported.
  • Increase Your Balance and Flexibility: Exercises like yoga and pilates can help you increase your balance and flexibility, which can help you avoid movements that can harm your back.
  • Be Careful When Heavy Lifting: Heavy lifting is the most common cause of a thrown-out back, so be sure you lift heavy objects properly to avoid injury. Be sure to bend at the knees and keep a straight back while lifting. Avoid any awkward twisting. If something is too heavy to safety lift on your own, as for help.

Don’t Wait to Deal With a Strained Back!

The majority of people who throw out their back make a complete recovery within a few weeks with rest and proper treatment. At River Stone Wellness, we are dedicated to helping you return to your optimal health. If you have thrown out your back, don’t wait to deal with the pain! Our team offers exceptional chiropractic and massage therapy services that will have you pain-free and living your normal life in no time.

Book your appointment today!