“My back went out” or “I threw my back out” are odd expressions but the pain is anything but odd.

That sharp, stabbing back pain can bring you to your knees. Perhaps the only thing worse than the throbbing pain is not knowing when it might happen. It can strike at any time whether you’re doing physical activity like gardening or playing golf or simply bending over to feed the cat.

You might wonder how you can treat “having your back go out” until you can get medical treatment and how you can prevent it.

But first, what’s happening when your back “goes out”?

What’s happened one or more of the vertebrae has shifted position. If you can imagine the length of the spine and then imagine 1 or more of the vertebrae shifting out of its normal position and maybe even being stuck, then you have an inkling of what causes the pain.

Imagine your vertebrae like a stuck drawer in a dresser. You may jiggle it but it doesn’t come lose and fit back into its regular slot. In a way, that’s what’s happened with your back.

You can protect your back by maintaining spinal flexibility and strengthening your core muscles.

What Do When Your Back “Goes Out”

From back spasms to disc injury, there’s a lot going on when you have back pain. Your chiropractor can help reduce your back pain but what if happens late at night or you’re not able to get in to see your doctor right away?

Here’s how you can treat your back pain until you can get to the doctor.

  • Lie on the floor – Chances are, you’ll be horizontal immediately, but lying on a hard surface like the floor will be more helpful than the comfortable mattress. Turn over on your stomach if you can and let your arms rest naturally at your sides. You can use a small towel to cushion your face if necessary. Breathe deeply and try to let muscles relax.
  • Use Ice – Ice packs will help bring down any swelling.
  • Take anti-inflammatories – Aleve and other such other the counter drugs can also reduce any inflammation.

How to Protect Your Back

A healthy back is far less likely to “go out” on you and if you don’t have pre-existing back injuries, you’re in luck because these tips will help you keep it healthy. If you do have pre-existing back injuries, these can still help.

1- Maintain a healthy weight – Extra weight, especially around your middle, can contribute to back pain because your body isn’t built for it.

2- Get Regular Exercise – Not only does this help maintain healthy weight but it also helps keep your back flexible.

Yoga is great for spinal health but even simple stretches will help. Be sure to stretch before gardening, golf, or other physical activity. Toe touches, knee raises, and side stretches are all helpful. Just take it slow if and don’t blast through them.

3- See the chiropractor – Your chiropractor “unsticks” your vertebrae and get it back into its proper “slot” in your back giving you a lot of relief. For the best results, follow your customized treatment plan.

4- Get a massage – Massage can also help relieve back pain by soothing the muscles that surround the vertebrae. In fact, regular massage combined with chiropractic treatments can be very helpful.

If you have a history of chronic back pain, and your back “goes out” frequently, call us. We’re in Doylestown, Pa. We’ll do an x-ray and see what’s going on in there and create a treatment plan based on your needs. You don’t have to live in pain.