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How Do I Get Relief From a Back Spasm?

How Do I Get Relief From a Back Spasm?

Q: How do I get relief from a back spasm?

A: As with any health problem, the first thing you want to try to do is prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.

Pay attention to how you use your back. Try avoid twisting at the waist (instead turn the entire body) and always use your legs (and not your back) when lifting heavy objects.

You should also work to strengthen your core abdominal muscles as they provide stability for the back and help take some of the workload off of the weaker back muscles.

When you first feel a strain in your back, try these steps to avoid or reduce pain. These are the most important home treatments for the first few days of back pain (if it persists, see your doctor for a thorough exam)

1. Relax. Lie down in a comfortable position
2. Ice. Put ice or a cold pack on your back for 10 minutes every hour to reduce pain and speed healing
3. Pelvic tilts. This exercise gently move the spine and stretches the lower back
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor
Slowly tighten your muscles and press your lower back against the floor. Hold for 10 seconds (don’t hold your breath). Slowly relax
4. Walk (no bed rest!!) Take a short walk (3-5 minutes) on a flat, level surface every 3 hours.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
2:53AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

Thanks for information!

12:53AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Thank you

3:49AM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

its very nice projectedsad.

prefabrik villa

4:33AM PST on Mar 8, 2011

Thanks for the article.

2:05AM PDT on Jul 24, 2010

Thanks for the article.

10:35AM PDT on Jul 7, 2010

I hope walking more helps. I have bad back spasms and when I sit down they go away but they happen after I am on my feet for about 5 to 10 minutes so it is hard to get much done.

9:19PM PDT on Jun 11, 2010


6:56AM PST on Feb 10, 2010

good information

1:35AM PDT on Jun 15, 2009


6:56PM PST on Jan 14, 2009

When I found that my back pain stemmed from 3 herniated discs, my doctor prescribed swimming. When I was faithfully swimming 3 times per week, my back pain was greatly reduced!

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