Did I Throw My Back Out?

What Happens When You Throw Your Back Out

Back pain is one of the most common reasons why millions of people visit the doctor each year. You may have heard the expression, “I threw my back out,” and wondered what exactly that meant. Actually, throwing out your back refers to a sudden instance where you experience immediate low back pain. Throwing out your back can cause such strong pain that you may wonder whether you should see a doctor right away. When you throw your back out, it can keep you from doing simple daily movements like moving from sitting to standing without significant pain. Here’s what you need to know about what happens when you throw your back out.

Symptoms of Throwing Out Your Back

Your body’s first and immediate response to throwing out your back is typically severe pain in your lower back. This may also be accompanied by muscle spasms, where your back muscles that typically help support and stabilize your spine tense and tighten. If you think you have thrown out your back, you may start to feel like your back is stiff and simple twists or stretches leave you feeling achy and may even increase your pain.

A Bald Man Having Severe Back Pain

How You Can Throw Your Back Out

The most common ways people have thrown their back out include movements after a long, hard day of work or sudden movements that surprise and aggravate your back.


You may have heard someone say they threw their back out while moving and trying to lift heavy furniture. Lifting something heavy without proper posture can put too much pressure on your lower back and damage the muscles in your lower back.


A sudden twisting motion can also cause you to throw out your back. If you don’t properly warm up your muscles and stretch before playing a sport, for example, you risk damaging your back. The twisting motion your body makes to swing a golf club or tennis racket can cause you to throw out your back.

Poor Posture

Poor posture can lead to the weakening of muscles and ligaments that help support your spine. As these soft tissues become weaker, they are more susceptible to injuries like muscle tears or spinal injuries. Poor posture while performing physical tasks like lifting heavy objects or playing a sport can also cause you to throw out your back.

A Doctor Explaining About Chiropractic Pain

Diagnosing Your Lower Back Pain

People can often identify the activity or movement that led to the sudden pain of throwing out their backs. When you visit your orthopedic doctor, they will want to know about your symptoms, like when you first noticed them and what causes those symptoms to get better or worse. Your doctor may also want to run a diagnostic imaging test like an X-ray or CT scan on your lower back to determine if you’ve thrown out your back. Pain, tingling, and numbness can also be due to issues with the nerves that run along your spine, so your doctor may also want to run additional tests to rule out other potential issues or injuries.

Treatment Options After You Throw Your Back Out

The best thing you can do right after throwing out your back is to rest. A back injury can cause inflammation in the area, and one of the best and most natural ways to help decrease swelling and inflammation is to rest and avoid activities that put too much stress on your body. You may also try applying an ice pack or cold compress to your lower back to help with any inflammation in the area. A warm compress or heating pad can also help your muscles to relax and soothe any stiffness in your back. You may need to adjust how you sit and sleep, like by propping yourself up with pillows for better support. Special pillows and supports can help to take pressure off of your aching back while it heals.

For severe lower back pain, visit one of our skilled Chiropractic Physicians to learn more about your treatment options. We have a team of multi-specialty providers, including Chiropractic Physicians that have extensive post-doctoral training in orthopedics and neurology, licensed massage therapists with advanced training in injury care and advanced Rolfing who can help you after you’ve “thrown your back out”. Visit us online to find a location near you and start experiencing lasting pain relief with one of our highly knowledgeable and skilled doctors today! Call today – (541) 318-8627.