ZocdocAnswersWhat might be wrong with my back?

Question

What might be wrong with my back?

When I am laying down, sometimes I get sudden pain that is almost paralyzing. It goes through my whole spine. Then it is gone, but then it will happen again a few minutes later. Is something wrong with my spine or is it a muscle spasm?

Answer

If this pain has been going on for some time, or if it is getting worse, then I would suggest that you set up a visit with your primary care doctor to make sure there is not something serious going on. By far the most common kind of back pain is due to muscle spasm. This occurs in the muscles that run up and down the sides of the spine, called the paraspinal muscles, and it commonly occurs due to strain, bad posture, and weakness of the involved muscle groups. Your doctor can examine your back and see if the pain is due to spasm; if so anti inflammatory medications can help, as can back stretching and strengthening exercises. The other common kind of back pain is due to something pressing on a nerve, usually a bulging disc. This causes pain which is more 'electric' in nature and it tends to run from the site of the pinched nerve down a leg (following the course of the nerve). Some elements of what you are describing sound more like this than like spasm, but start by talking to your doctor who will help you confirm the source of the pain and recommend treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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