How to Treat Back Spasms

Although it may take several weeks for back pain to go away completely, you can treat your back spasms at home.

  • Bed rest is usually a good way to treat back spasms. However, more than a few days off your feet may do more harm than good [source: Mayo Clinic].
  • Lying on the floor with pillows under your knees is sometimes helpful. Lying on the floor with your knees bent and your legs on a chair may also bring relief. Both of these positions take pressure off of your back [source:].
  • Over-the-counter pain medications, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, often help relieve back pain.
  • Applying heat for 20-30 minutes at a time may help a sore back feel better.

If the above interventions help, your doctor may prescribe narcotics, muscle relaxants or alternative therapy to help relieve the pain [source: Mayo Clinic].


Some alternative medicine techniques that may help a sore back include:

  • Herbal treatments, like willow bark or devil's claw, that are taken orally, or capsicum, which is applied topically.
  • Hands-on treatments, such as chiropractics, acupuncture and massage sometimes help resolve back pain.
  • Mind-body techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, try to address the emotional stress that may be the underlying cause of the pain. Progressive relaxation helps you identify tense muscles and then relax those muscles [source: Mayo Clinic].

Exercise, good posture and lifting heavy objects correctly can help prevent back pain [source: Mayo Clinic].

See a doctor if:

  • Your back pain is the result of a fall or blow.
  • Your back pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, sweating or weakness.
  • You feel pain or numbness in your leg, foot, groin or rectum.
  • You lose control of your bowel or bladder.
  • You are experiencing unexplained weight loss.
  • The pain is constant or intense, or persists for more than two or three weeks.
  • You have a history of osteoporosis, cancer or substance abuse.