A Secret To Avoiding Recurring Back Pain And Spasm

You drop your phone and find yourself looking down and staring at it for a bit of time, pondering your next best action. Do you risk another flare up of your low back pain and just go for it? After all, just two months ago you had another bout of low back pain when you bent over to pick up your shoes and your back went into a spasm.  It took several weeks to recover, and you don’t want to go through that pain again. So, do you risk bending over to pick up your phone? You can hear the pings of incoming texts, so the pressure is mounting. Finally you reason that your phone weighs only a few ounces, just a fraction of what your shoes must weigh, so you go for it…

Sometimes serious back pain and spasm can occur without you doing anything seemingly “major”.  All it takes may be your own body weight and a simple bend. Sometimes it may be that you were just doing your hair one morning, or simply leaning over the sink to wash up.  And all of sudden you are racked with sharp lower back pain and debilitating spasm. What happened… and why?

Your body has an inborn wisdom that controls and regulates all your body functions. Your nervous system (the brain, spinal cord, and all connected nerves) is the primary communication network of your body. And it works best without interference. The brain and spinal cord are considered the central nervous and are so important that they are designed with their own “armor” made of bone… the skull and spinal column.

Now, when your body senses any incoming assault on your nervous system, your body is going to do everything it can to protect itself. Sometimes the “assault” on your nerves can occur when a spinal bone shifts out of place and becomes “stuck”.  This is called a subluxation or a spinal misalignment. Sometimes subluxations are silent, but sometimes they cause pain. Back pain, neck pain, arm pain, leg pain, headaches, etc. all can be caused by subluxations. Whether they are silent or painful, subluxations cause nerve interference. Some consider the “silent” subluxations more dangerous, because they may be causing underlying health problems without any obvious symptoms.

What about that back spasm that seems to keep recurring?  Is your body out of control or does the spasm serve a purpose? Are there ways to prevent the spasm from ever coming back? To better understand the answers to these questions, you need to know a bit about how your body works…

There is an ideal position of your spinal bones. This ideal position allows for the free function of your nervous system without interference. And your body has two basic structures that keep your spinal bones in this ideal position… #1 Your spinal ligaments and discs, and #2 Your deep layer of spinal muscles.

Your spinal ligaments and discs limit excessive joint motion, provide support, and give feedback to your brain about your body posture, balance, and position. Because of their design, your ligaments and discs only provide some of the stability to your spine.

Thankfully, your deep layer of spinal muscles provide the majority of your spinal stability.  These muscles are the primary “restraints” that prevent your spinal bones from shifting too far. They are like a “dog leash” that prevents the dog from going too far from you. Your deep spinal muscles are muscles of endurance and act to stabilize your spine and provide feedback to your brain about body posture, balance, and position (as opposed to your bigger muscles that are more powerful, give your body its shape, and designed to move your skeleton).

But what happens if your “restraints” are too weak, or just aren’t working right?

Well, even a simple bend over to pick up your phone can cause enough force to hit your low back and move a bone out of place. If your deep spinal muscles don’t contract in time to meet that force, then your bone shifts too far out of place. This can cause damage to your ligaments, your discs, and even your nervous system.

When your body senses a spinal bone shifting far out of place, thereby endangering your nervous system of severe damage, your body will do its best to protect itself.  Your body goes into “lock-down mode”. Your outer layer of muscles take over (the big and powerful ones that don’t routinely deal with stabilization). Spasm occurs. This is an area of uncontrollably tight muscle fibers.  Now at this point, you may be in debilitating pain.

To avoid this nasty situation, it’s a good idea if you learn to prevent it.  You will need to learn how to better take care of your spine and nervous system. Here are two things you can do right now to help:

#1. Get your spine checked for subluxations. Only chiropractors are highly trained to detect and correct spinal subluxations. At our office, we have helped untold numbers of people suffering from back spasms find relief and then learn how to prevent them from recurring.

#2. Begin to incorporate spinal stabilization exercises to your routine at least three times per week. The health of your spinal muscles will determine your ability to avoid a disaster and back spasm. Here are some basic spinal stabilization exercises you can start with:

Goal For All of These Exercises:

  • Perfect form- Hold for 30 seconds (you can work your way up to 30 second holds by doing repetitions held for shorter periods of time)- When they become too easy, you can make them more difficult by increasing the instability of your contact points with the ground (e.g. placing the feet on a balance ball). We will cover details of this in a future article.

Abdominal Hollowing

  • In the hands and knees position, pull the abdominal muscles up towards your spine (this essentially engages your deep spinal muscles)
  • Avoid arching your back
  • Hold


The Bird Dog

  • Start with the abdominal hallowing position (engage your deep spinal muscles)
  • Alternate extending opposite arm and leg
  • Hold
  • Repeat with other arm and leg
  • Hold

The Bridge

  • Laying on back with feet about shoulder width apart
  • Engage your deep spinal muscles first
  • Push your heels into the floor and tighten your glutes and abdominal muscles as you raise your hips up
  • Avoid over-extending and arching your back
  • Hold


The Plank

  • Engage your deep spinal muscles first
  • Lying on belly and contacting the floor with your forearms and feet (or knees for an easier version)
  • Rise up to a flat-back position
  • Avoid arching your back
  • Hold


The Side Plank

  • Lying on side and contacting the floor with your forearm and feet (or knee for an easier version)
  • Engage your deep spinal muscles first
  • Rise up lifting your hip off the floor
  • Avoid arching your back
  • Hold
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Hold


If you have any questions about back spasm, subluxations, chiropractic adjustments, spinal stabilization exercises, etc, feel free to drop by the office or call us any time. We are here to serve and would be honored to speak with you and be a part of your ongoing journey to better natural health.

 Ken Goldman, DC