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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

What Happens When You Throw Your Back Out?

Throwing out your back is a common phrase that people use when they’re experiencing back pain, stiffness, or discomfort.

But it is actually not a medical term, throwing your back out can indicate a number of ailments. If you think you may have thrown your back it, it could be one of these conditions or many others:

  1. Back spasm

  2. Muscle strain

  3. Herniated disc

  4. Broken vertebrae

When you throw out your back, you’ll feel a quick onset of lower back pain. The pain may be different or worse if you have chronic lower back pain.

A lot of times, this pain occurs after hard work, such as lifting heavy objects, or an injury.

Throwing out your back can keep you from your regular activities for several days. You may wonder if you need to seek emergency attention.

Symptoms of A Thrown Out Back Include:

Throw back out, back pain

woman with lower back pain, Credits: pexels

  1. muscle spasms when at rest or active

  2. lower back pain that originates from around the buttocks and does not go into the legs

  3. stiffness in the lower back

  4. limited range of motion in the back

  5. inability to maintain normal posture due to either pain or stiffness

  6. back pain that lasts for about 10–14 days


throw back out, back pain

a woman lifting weight, Credits: pexels

The most likely cause of throwing out the back is a strained muscle. It is possible to strain the back muscles due to:

  1. sudden twisting

  2. overstretching

  3. poor posture

  4. attempting to lift objects that are too heavy

In addition to muscle strains, a thrown out back may be the result of damage to other parts of the back, including:

blood vessels


other connective tissue

Risk Factors

Throw back out, back pain

man lifting weights, Credits: pexels

  1. Lack of exercise: frail, unused muscles

  2. Age: around the 30 – 40year age range, back pain becomes more prevalent

  3. Excess pounds: carrying extra weight puts extra stress on the back

  4. Improper lifting: using your back instead of your legs can cause pain

  5. Poor posture: sitting at a desk with poor posture can lead to lower back pain

  6. Smoking: can keep the body from distributing nutrients to the discs in our backs

  7. Diseases and sicknesses: some types of cancers, arthritis, blood clots, kidney infections, kidney stones and bone loss can contribute to back pain

  8. Psychological conditions: people prone to anxiety and depression have an increased risk of lower back pain

What to Do if You Throw Your Back Out?

Throw back out, back pain

Pain killers, Credits: pexels

According to the NINDS, a person can take some steps at home to help reduce acute back pain, such as:

  1. Using hot or cold packs: Warmth can relax the muscles, and cold helps prevent and reduce swelling. Both hot and cold packs can help alleviate pain.

  2. Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers: Taking analgesics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), for a short period may reduce pain and swelling.

  3. Avoiding prolonged bed rest: It is important to keep mobile and do light activity.

  4. Lightly stretching the back: Gently stretching the muscles, under the direction of a healthcare professional, may help relieve tension.

  5. Avoid certain activities if they have thrown out their back. These include like activities that involve sudden twists of the back, such as golf, lifting heavy objects, and exercises that put a strain on the back.


Throw back out, back pain

women excercising, Credits: pexels

You might avoid back pain or prevent its recurrence by improving your physical condition and learning and practicing proper body mechanics.

To keep your back healthy and strong:

  1. Regular low-impact aerobic activities — those that don’t strain or jolt your back — can increase strength and endurance in your back and allow your muscles to function better. Walking and swimming are good choices. Talk with your doctor about which activities you might try.

  2. Build muscle strength and flexibility. Abdominal and back muscle exercises, which strengthen your core, help condition these muscles so that they work together like a natural corset for your back.

  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight strains back muscles. If you’re overweight, trimming down can prevent back pain.

  4. Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of low back pain. The risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, so quitting should help reduce this risk.

Treatments for Back Pain in Pregnancy

Throw back out, back pain

pregnant woman, Credits: pexels

During pregnancy you may feel lower back pain due to incorrect posture, hormonal changes, increased weight etc.

There are many things you can do to treat low back pain or make it rarer and milder:

  1. Exercise- Regular exercise strengthens muscles and boosts flexibility. That can ease the stress on your spine. Safe exercises for most pregnant women include walking, swimming, and stationary cycling. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises to strengthen your back and abdomen.

  2. Heat and Cold- Applying heat and cold to your back may help. If your health care provider agrees, start by putting cold compresses (such as a bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel) on the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. After two or three days, switch to heat — put a heating pad or hot water bottle on the painful area. Be careful not to apply heat to your abdomen during pregnancy.

  3. Improve your posture. Slouching strains your spine. So using proper posture when working, sitting, or sleeping is a good move. For example, sleeping on your side with a pillow between the knees will take stress off your back. When sitting at a desk, place a rolled-up towel behind your back for support; rest your feet on a stack of books or stool and sit up straight, with your shoulders back. Wearing a support belt may also help.

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