What To Do When Your Back Goes Out! By Alpharetta Chiropractor Dr. Alex Paulk

Its has happened to most of us at some point in our lives or you have seen someone that it has happened to. I am talking about the dreaded “my back just went out” scenario. Now, if we can get one thing straight...your back did not “go out”.  Acute low back pain can be extreme and it can be scary; but most of the time all that has happened is a severe spasming of the back muscles (you can read about muscle spasms here) or the mobility of the back meaning, the joints of the back have not been able to move for some time, and now that prolonged dysfunction has lead to the severe pain and inmobility. 

Doing normal everyday things now an adventure at best. Putting on your shoes, getting dressed even sitting or standing is now done with every extreme cautionary measure. The good news is that are steps that you can take to immediately help relieve the pain before you see your Chiropractor.  The bad news is many people take the wrong steps to get better or just do noting at all, which can make the back pain worse. So here are the Do’s and Don’ts of low back pain.

The Do’s:
  • Do apply ice for 15-20 min at a time every couple of hours. This will reduce inflammation, help protect the soft tissue and it also helps reduces the pain.

  •  Do avoid movements that hurt. Increasing pain do to the movement is bad and you could be making the injury worse. However, move as much as you can. Mobility is key!

  • Do apply topical analgesics such as biofreeze or cryoderme. These creams help with the pain and also aid in the healing process.

  • Do Call your Chiropractor and schedule an appointment. The sooner you can get in and be seen by your Doctor of Chiropractic the sooner your will be back to 100% sometimes even the same day depending on the severity of the injury.


The Don’ts
  • Don’t apply heat for the first 48 hours. This can increase the inflammation and can have adverse effects on the joint and surrounding soft tissue.

  • Don't use NSAIDS, pain meds, which can actually limit the healing process (read more about that here).

  • Don’t stay in bed or completely avoid all activity. Staying completely inactive can be worse for you than moving around. Movement allows fluid to move in and out of a joint as well as in and out of the soft tissue.

  • Don’t put off calling your Chiropractor. Again, the sooner you can get adjusted the quicker you are going to be able to get back to 100% 

So the next time you find yourself in a situation where you have "thrown your back out" be sure to follow these Do’s and Don’ts. You will be glad you did and so will your back. 


Dr. Alex Paulk is a Chiropractor at North Atlanta Spine located in Alpharetta Ga.  


5755 North Point Pkwy Ste 4 
Alpharetta GA, 30022
P: 678-691-3221