What does it mean to Toss Your Back Out?

What does it mean to Toss Your Back Out?

Read Time:7 Minute, 31 Second

The likelihood is that it’s only temporary However, here’s how to accelerate your recovery and prevent the pain from returning.

By Kristen SturtMedically reviewed in June 2022.

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Updated on October 7, 2022


Perhaps there was a sharp burning pain that was felt in the lower part of your back when carrying a laundry basket. Perhaps you felt muscle spasms after taking a massive golf swing. Maybe nothing happened in any way however, you suddenly couldn’t move your body.


If you’re like most Americans you’ll tell your friends that you’ve thrown your back out–and they’ll be able to tell the exact meaning of what you’re saying. This type of pain is well-known to many who suffer from it, which is the leading reason for lost work days and a major reason for visiting healthcare professionals (HCPs).


What does the term actually mean?

“It signifies that they’ve experienced an acute onset of lower back pain in the region of the spine’s lumbar located just below their ribs and over their pelvis” states Kimberly Waters Physical therapist in Charleson, South Carolina. The exact cause of the pain is often not known, “the most likely thing that occurs when people throw their backs out is a muscle strain, but there are many other reasons why it could happen, such as the bulging of a disk or shearing of the disk.”


Luckily you can get your back out. is generally a minor occurrence but there are ways to speed recovery and prevent the same thing from happening. This is what you need to know.


Who throws it out on the back of their head?

Around the majority of people be afflicted with lower back discomfort at one time or another. Injuries that cause acute pain can occur to anyone but they are more frequent with the passage of time. Although those who have physical demands are most likely to suffer from injury, those who work for long periods with poor back support could be affected too.


A lack of physical fitness is a further risk factor. Those who aren’t active are at a higher risk of developing lower back pain and so are “weekend athletes.” “These are those who typically sit down during the week, but on weekends, they’ll for a round of golf for a couple of hours or for a soccer game or softball,” says Waters. In this instance, the pain is caused by a short period of intense exercise, following an extended period of sluggish movement.


If you’ve already thrown your back in the past? It’s more likely that you’ll repeat the mistake. Sometimes, the first injury is the first sign that you’re going to have a lengthy battle; one-in-five people who suffer from acute lower back pain suffer from chronic pain one year afterward.


What exactly happens?

Most of the time people throw their back it is believed to be due to muscle strain due to lifting a heavy object or bending incorrectly. “The muscles can tighten or become spastic, and this is the reason for the pain,” Waters claims. Waters. The pain could range from a mild ache to a severe throbbing however, it is likely to remain located around the lumbar spine — the five vertebrae that are located over your buttocks.


If the pain extends outwards, “further into the lower back, the buttocks, or down the leg,” it could indicate an injured or bulging disc within your spinal. They are found between vertebrae and are able to support your bones as you move about. If they begin to break down, they could create pressure on nerves, leading to radiating pain.


Sometimes, acute lower back pain can be caused by something more serious for example, an infection, a fractured vertebra, or cancer. The most common cases are older people or those who have suffered from cancer, those taking long-term steroids, and frequent use of drugs, as well as those who have medical conditions that predate them, such as osteoporosis or diabetes.


“You’ll definitely need to visit an acupuncturist if you’re experiencing extreme back pain, especially when it occurs following an accident, a fall, or a motor vehicle crash,” says Waters. Make sure to seek immediate medical attention in the event that you suffer from any of the following symptoms:

  • The weakness, pain, or loss of sensation in your legs
  • A severe pain that severely limits the ability to do simple tasks
  • Bladder or problems with bowel control
  • Weight loss you’re unable to explain
  • Acute illness, fever, or signs of illness


Also, make sure to consult an HCP if the discomfort doesn’t improve after 4 weeks. The majority of chronic lower back pain will ease within a few days or weeks, so a prolonged discomfort could mean something more may be wrong.


How do I obtain relief?

Usually, the discomfort caused when you throw your back out will go away in its own time and you don’t have to consult a doctor. In the course of recovery, your primary concern will be to ease the pain and get back to your feet.


For the initial 72-hour period after the incident, Waters suggests applying ice to help ease pain and suggests heating pads could help at the end of 3 days. The two will not aid in your recovery as such however, they could alleviate your pain at the time.


Certain OTC (OTC) medications can help alleviate pain. Acetaminophen is one of the options and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) are a different option. They also help reduce inflammation, which may aid in easing symptoms, says Waters. Make sure to speak to your physician first, because NSAIDs can cause health issues for those suffering from certain ailments or taking specific medicines. Tips: Instead of taking a pill when the pain becomes too severe experts recommend OTC medications are more effective in a steady dose for 3 to 5 days.


Keep in mind that moving can help

In the days following you’ve thrown your back, laying on your feet may be relaxing However, staying active has been proven to aid to speed up recovery by increasing blood flow, improving flexibility, and stopping spasms.


“Find the most comfortable position however, do make an effort to get moving,” says Waters. “You shouldn’t lie on your back for too long, or lie for too long since even after only 24 hours of sleep it is possible to lose the muscle mass.”


Walking or doing light chores is the best method to move. Stretching can be beneficial also. “Longer extended stretches have been proven as more effective than frequent and less holding stretching,” adds Waters. She suggests lying down and taking one knee toward your chest, securing the position for 30 to 60 seconds, and then repeating the movement three or four times for each leg “You will feel the slightest stretch in your lower back or gluteal region.” And if it hurts too significantly? It’s fine to end.


While recovering, avoid any high-impact sports and stay away from BLT–“bending to lift, bending, as well as twisting” Waters advises. Waters. “You do not want to twist your body to reach for the floor. You shouldn’t lift anything that is too heavy.” If you decide to pick something up, make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned and avoid twisting your spine and lower back.


Preventing future incidents

In order to keep your lower back in good shape, proper posture and body mechanics is the main goal for the day. To avoid unexpected injuries, master proper posture, the correct method of bending over, and how to lift, push and pull objects in a safe way. Physical therapists can show you the best methods to avoid injuries; search for one through Locate a Doctor function on the Sharecare app, which is accessible for both iOS as well as Android.


What’s more important? Regular exercise. “Keeping your legs and core strong, and your quadriceps strong, they are the muscles that lift you,” Waters says. If those muscles lack strength, she says that you rely on the spine for lifting, which opens your back to discomfort. It is important to maintain flexibility in addition since muscles tend to get tighter as you get older. Nearly any exercise suitable for your age is beneficial, and Waters recommends the practice of yoga, Pilates, and tai chi.


It’s not possible to know what time or place you’ll be throwing your back, but with a few basic precautions, you can lower the chance of injury and spare yourself several days of discomfort.

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