Throwing out your back can be a painful experience. So when you just threw out your back you’re probably looking for a way to relieve your pain and to prevent it from ever happening again.

Luckily for you, throwing out your back can be easily fixed. By a quick fix we mean one or two weeks by the way. Unfortunately it can’t be done in a few days because of the damaged that is caused.

To be able to fully understand how to fix a thrown out back you’ll have to know what happened, why it happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

That what we’ll discuss here on this page.

In fact, this is what you’ll learn here:

  1. Throwing out your back, why does it happen?
  2. The anatomy of your lower back
  3. What are the symptoms of throwing out your back?
  4. What does the quick fix treatment of throwing out your back look like?

Throwing out your back, why does it happen?

About 80% of all people experience a-specific low back pain at some point in their life. Throwing out your back makes up for a big part of the causes of a-specific low back pain.

Since you’re on this page it probably happened to you too, maybe even quit recently. So you’ll know what it feels like:

You’ve dropped your pencil or toothbrush and bend over to pick it up. Suddenly you feel a stinging pain in your back and it locks up. You’re trying to make your way to your bed or couch and think: how did this happen?

Actually there are a few hypotheses what happens when you throw out your back.

Renegadehealth  states that when you throw out your back you’re most likely to have damaged a muscle or ligament in your back. You don’t have to worry about your back being out of place or anything like that.

What can potentially happen is that you damage a vertebral disk in your lower back. In this case however we talk about a herniated disk and not about throwing out your back anymore.

A herniated disk also causes radiating pain in your leg. This doesn’t happen when you throw out your back.

This is why it happens

Throwing out your back happens because you lack stability in your back. When you lift something up, you’ll have to keep your back stable in order to be able to transfer all the forces and keep your body in balance. When you’re unable to do this, you’ll throw out your back.

What happens is that because of the lack of stability other muscles take over to prevent any real damage to happen. Unfortunately these muscles are incapable of doing this. This is why the damage in your muscles is caused. The muscles are overused by the sudden big force.

But that’s not the only thing that happens

When you throw out your back, your back feels very stiff. It feels like something is blocked. That’s why many people are afraid that something is out of place.

Luckily that’s not the case. What happens is that a joint in your back locks up. That’s why your back feels rock solid after you threw your back out.

What actually happened is that there is created a vacuum between the two vertebrae. That’s why you’ll have to crack your back to remove the vacuum. It’s similar to cracking your knuckles.

Research shows that when you crack your knuckles the vacuum in the joint is destroyed.

You can see what happens in the video below.



You can compare it with a stiff neck. When you have a stiff neck you can sometimes move it back and forth to ease it up. Suddenly you feel a crack and the mobility of your neck becomes much better.

This is also what happened in your back. Unfortunately you can’t just move around a bit to ease it up. This is because of the damage and increased tension in your back.

However, there is a way to quickly solve this problem. But before we get into that you’ll have to understand the anatomy to fully understand what happened and what we’re about to do.

The anatomy of your lower back

erector spinae muscleYour lower back consists of 5 vertebrae, called your lumbar vertebrae or lumbar spine. The third lumbar vertebrae is located at the same level as the top of your pelvic bones.

These 5 vertebrae are covered by muscles and ligaments. Their function is the support and movement of your lower back.

We distinguish three different types of muscles in your back.

  • The global mobilizers
  • The global stabilizers
  • The local stabilizers

Every muscle type has its own function.

The function of your global mobilizers is to move your body. These are the muscles you can see and that makes you able to bend and extend your back.

The best known global mobilizer in your back is your erector spinae. This is the big muscle that is located next to your spine.

Your global stabilizers need to stabilize your body. The best known global stabilizers are your abdominal muscles, especially your transverse abdominal.

The purpose of your local stabilizers is to stabilize your back. These are the most important muscles to prevent back pain. These are also often the problem when you throw out your back.

The most important local stabilizer is your Multifidus muscle. It runs from one vertebrae to the next. Therefore it’s very well capable of stabilizing your back.

But this is the problem:

When you don’t train your back properly or use it in the wrong way, these muscles don’t work at all.

As stated by the Dynamic Chiropractic your local stabilizers work less efficient in the presence of pain or a pathology:

multifidus muscle“Local stabilizers are single-joint muscles designed to reduce segmentaltranslation, rather than to control range of motion. In normal function, they often demonstrate an anticipatory response to rapid multidirectional limb and trunk movement, preparing the spine for unexpected perturbations This anticipatory response, the early activation of these muscles, prepares and stabilizes the spine in advance of sudden movement.”

However when there is pain present your local stabilizers lose their anticipatory response. Therefore when you try to pick something up they are too late to stabilize your back. This increases the risk of low back pain.

Another factor that influences your local stabilizers are your global mobilizers. When your global mobilizers are to active or to tens, they inhibit the activity of your local stabilizers.

So when you only do deadlifts or Seated Rows but forget about your local stabilizers and core training, you’re risking low back pain.

What are the symptoms of throwing out your back?

Now you know what is causing you to throw your back out, you have to know what the symptoms of throwing your back out are. This way you can distinguish a simple throwing your back out from a herniated disk or a SI joint problem. This is because this treatment doesn’t work for these injuries and may cause additional harm instead.

When you throw your back out you’ll feel:

  • A sudden sting in your back
  • Immediate tightness of your back
  • Some radiation towards your gluteal region

This is what you shouldn’t feel:

  • Radiating pain in your leg and foot
  • Tightness of your gluteal muscles
  • Pain in your gluteal area

When you feel radiating pain or even numbness in your leg, you’re more likely to have suffered from a herniated disk. Pain in your gluteal area indicates a SI joint problem.

These injuries require a different treatment. Especially when you think you have a herniated disk you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

So what causes these symptoms?

The first thing you’ll feel is the stinging pain in your back. Because of the lack of stability of your back, your vertebra moves a little bit because of the applied forces during lifting.

During this movement it touches a connected vertebra at a place where it’s not covered by cartilage. This causes bone to bone contact, which results in stinging pain.

This stinging pain triggers a reaction of your global mobilisers. They notice the strange movement and pain and stiffens. This is to prevent any further pain or problems. The pain activates a trigger point in the erector spinae. This trigger point is responsible for the radiating pain in your lower back and also for the stiffening of your back.

The stiffening of the muscles can be so strong that it actually cases damage in the muscle. You can come pair this with a sudden episode of cramp. This sometimes also causes pain for several days because of the damage it caused.

What does the quick fix treatment of throwing out your back look like?

Now you know what happens when you throw your back out and what is causing your symptoms, it’s time to do something about it.

The first thing you can do is apply ice to the painful spot for about 10-15 minutes. The ice will reduce the pain as it numbs the pain receptors.

The second thing you’ll have to do is to reduce the tension of the trigger point. When you’re able to reduce the tension of the trigger point, your pain will be reduced as well. You’ll also need to reduce the tension to be able to crack your back and get it flexible again.

This is how you reduce the tension of the trigger point:

Search with your finger for a little knot in the painful area in your back. This is the trigger point you’re looking for. Now apply pressure on it by squeezing it onto the bone. First you’ll feel an increase in pain and radiation. When you hold the pressure onto it, you’ll slowly feel the pain and radiation fading away. You’ll also feel the tension fading away.

Repeat this as often as possible during the day.

Now that the tension and pain in your back is reduced, you have to do the following exercises to restore the mobility and stability of your back. Perform these exercises several times a day.

Exercise 1: Increasing the mobility of your back

The first thing you’ll have to do, now the muscles in your back are a little bit more relaxed, is to restore the mobility of your back. When the mobility in your back is limited, there will be more stress on the muscles in your back. This will overuse the muscles in your back again, aggravating the pain.

With the following exercise you’ll increase the mobility of your back. This allows you to move more freely and increase your activity again. Try to perform this exercise several times a day.



Exercise 2: Increase the stability of your back

The second exercise that you’ll have to do is designed to increase the stability of your back.

This exercise specifically addresses the anticipatory response of your local stabilizers like we mentioned before. When you can restore the anticipatory response of your local stabilizers, the risk of throwing your back out again is reduced significantly.

Perform this exercise as often as possible during the day. It’s also important that you keep training your local stabilizers when you’re not in pain anymore. Like with all muscles, the strength and anticipatory response decreases again when you stop training. This will increase the risk of throwing out your back again.



Exercise 3: Increase the strength of your back

The purpose of the last exercise is to increase the strength of you lattisimus dorsi. This will stimulate the healing process after you threw out your back. The exercise goes as follows:

  • Lay down facing the floor.
  • Now lift up your chest, arms and head of the ground.
  • Repeat this 10 times.
  • Make sure you keep your feet on the ground.

Try to repeat this exercise 3 times. When this is to easy, you can increase the repetitions to 15 or 20. Perform this exercise 2 times a day.

Some more tips
There are some other things you’ll have to think about when you threw out your back.

Standing up after a long period of sitting the chance of reinjuring is bigger than when you’re moving. To decrease the risk you can flex your abdominal muscles.

When you flex your abdominal muscles the inter abdominal pressure increases. This extra inter abdominal pressure increases the stability of your back temporarily. This is because it offers more support to your back. You can also use this when you have to pick something up, or carry something heavy.


In the first days after you threw you back out, you can use pain medication to relief your symptoms. You can choose between the following medicines.

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Aleve

Your doctor may also prescribe the following medication for severe pain

  • Diclofenac
  • Voltarain

The function of these medicines is to block the pain sensation you’re having and to suppress the inflammation caused by the damage in your muscle. They don’t really solve the problem of the pain.

Therefore only use these medicines when you can’t do without them. Also keep in mind that you’ll still have to perform the exercises as we mentioned before in order to solve the pain completely.

Throwing your back out is a common problem which can be very limiting. Luckily there is a quick fix method that will decrease your pain fast and significantly. Now you know how to do that yourself.

However if you have any questions feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we’ll try to improve this page with the answer of your question.

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