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Throwing Out Your Back: What That Really Means

By Sara Butler

Have you ever done something that seems innocent, only to have it drop you to the floor because it caused a back spasm? If so, you're not alone. Many people experience back spasms from seemingly simple activities such as bending over to pick something up or sneezing. For many people, this is what is called "throwing your back out." As with most things, it's complicated. Here's what you need to know about throwing your back out and how the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic can help.

What Does It Mean?

So, what does it mean to throw your back out? In most cases, this refers to an injury that occurs when you twist, sneeze, lift, cough, or turn the wrong way and the ligaments and muscles that support the spine are injured. Often, ligaments that support the bones in your back are strained or torn. Think of it a lot like spraining another part of your body, like your ankle.

The problem is when you sprain other parts of your body you can take the pressure off the muscles and ligaments to help them heal. It's not possible to do that with the back and in most cases, you shouldn't stop moving. Your range of motion will likely be decreased, but don't use that as an excuse to stop moving. Get to the chiropractor and have them evaluate what is going on so they can help you rehabilitate your back and get back to normal -- which could take a few weeks.

What Should You Do?

Throwing the back out is actually quite a common injury, which means that there's also a lot of misinformation floating around about it. One misconception is that you should stop moving and get on bed rest, but we've already touched on why that's not a great idea. What is a good idea is to:

  • Apply heat or ice - Ice may be best in the direct aftermath of the injury while heat is better in the 24 to 48 hours after it happened.
  • Go to the chiropractor - The chiropractor can evaluate your back to understand what is really going on and suggest gentle stretches and movements that can help.

The only way to avoid throwing your back out is to make sure that the muscles that support the spine are strong. This is accomplished through regular exercise as well as simple things such as lifting correctly.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Los Angeles, Calif.

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