Crippling Back Spasms

Had something completely new to me this morning. Without any real warning, I got a crippling back spasm that was unlike any pain I’ve ever felt. Like actually crippling, I immediately fell to the floor in pain and screamed in agony. My wife was legitimately freaked out and nearly called an ambulance because she’s never seen me like that. Without a doubt, top 3 most painful experiences in my entire life. I was barely able to breathe I was in so much pain and I laid motionless on the floor for a good 5 minutes. It was nauseating. Any movement gave me excruciating pain. My wife had some flexeril (muscle relaxant) and oxycodone that I took and even 3 hours on from the initial event, I’m still in agonizing pain with any movements. So I’ve taken a flexeril, oxycodone, Tylenol, and an Aleve, and have been used a heating pack. And I still can barely walk without feeling like I’m getting hit with a sledgehammer.

No neuropathic pain, no shocks or jolts down my leg. It’s not a stabbing pain but feels like a bad muscle strain pain but 100x worse. It literally takes my breath away. No injury or incident over the past week. I did 2.5 hours yesterday on the bike completely fine. I don’t know what could have caused it and it is scaring me the amount of pain I’m in.

See a bloody doctor!

(We can’t diagnose you over a forum, no matter how much I might want to suggest you need more strength training, or a bike fit, or some rest, or yoga, although probably we could all do with all of those things - I do, but I also need bi-weekly injections - get well soon)


Logically I know this is right. I’m actually scared of the pain of getting to a ER actually. Like the pain I’ll have getting out of bed and walking.


Have you got a remote/online doctor service from your state or private medical insurance?

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I actually don’t know. Good thought, I’m going to look into this.

If you’re UK the NHS 111 will get you a qualified nurse on the phone

US sadly. But I have good insurance at least.


If you are a fit non comorbid adult in 8/10+ pain 3hrs post with relaxants and oxy then you need to get seen, in person, sooner rather than later.

Yes, sure, 95% you’ve just overworked your muscles and they are in spasm. But there are plenty of things that could be causing it that might get worse if you ignore them. How would you feel 2 weeks from now if you ignored the sinister and it got worse?

No, it probably isn’t worth an ambulance ride, but 4hrs of unrelenting back pain unrelived by oxy would be a better reason than 95% of people have to turn up in my a+e.

Worst case scenario you just get some more suitable pain meds and some peace of mind.

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Good thoughts. You’re right.

When you do see a doctor, be sure to ask if there’s a forum for doctors where you can ask questions about cycling!



not plenty of things only 3 I can think of (i think we can exclude colics), heart attack, pulmonary embolism and a dissection but they are serious ones which require speedy intervention but excruciating pain usually is something mild

Update. Just left the ER. My wife has some connections at the hospital and was able to get an orthopedics guy to see me. He said he was 90% sure it was a bad muscle spasm based on my description and his exam (which was very painful). Basically said there wasn’t much reason to get any scans at this point and would just cost a bunch of money because he didn’t think it was a bone problem and didn’t sound like a herniated disc or nerve compression based on how I described the pain. He said I could get some trigger point injections that might help break up any muscle knots and if I’m still having the same pain in a week I could try to get an MRI but they’re costly and he had a low suspicion it would show anything. He did give me some scripts and recommended heat packs or lidocaine patches.

Anybody here ever get a trigger point injection? He basically said you get stabbed by a needle to break up muscle tightness. Sounds fun.

I recently did some trigger point for a shoulder issue. Feels weird but it didn’t hurt. Could feel the muscle jumping around. It did release the knot after about 12 hours. I was sore for about 4-6 hours after the needling. But the needle itself was pretty much painless

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Dry needling has worked well for me. Seems odd but the needle into the muscle does cause it to relax. I have had it done with some struggling tightness


Isn’t this a kidney stone? Or ureteral stone I guess.


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the pain gets worse when moving but people with a colic pain get an urge to move

He didn’t even mention that. But I don’t think so. I can pee without any pain or strain whatsoever. And the pain is reproducible. It’s not random pain. And it actually feels better with movement, although certain movements still give me a twinge of pain.

Feeling a lot better overall this morning. Was able to sleep through the night. Felt a little stiff this morning and like I said, certain movements cause a twinge of pain, but overall walking around it feels fine. Bending over is still a little difficult. I can only take Tylenol and advil during the day because I need to be functional and the flexieril/oxycodone combo knocked me out yesterday so I’ll take it at night. I have a heat pad and keeping it warm seems to help a lot.


def good news!

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This sounds freakishly similar to what happened to me in late January.
I was scared that I had an herniated disc… turnout it was muscular…
I couldn’t walk straight. The spams would randomly show up and I would scream in pain…
I couldn’t move in bed… took a solid week to feel back to my self… 3 days to be able to sleep mostly pain free…

I did antinflamatories and lots of Advil…

Was it mid back?
Have you been hitting the gym or lifting heavier than usual?

Put ice on your back for the first 48… then heat…

Would definitely look into this, or accupuncture (basically the same thing…biggest difference being the practitioner)

Last year I hit a traffic barrel and badly bruised my ribs…like could not walk, hurt to breathe kind of hurt. Had to get on a plane to fly home and found an acupuncturist out of desperation. Provided immediate relief so that I could at least be mobile (still in discomfort, though). Had another treatment once I got home and got even more relief.

The needling should allow the spasms to “quiet down”…my rib muscles were spasming which was what was debilitating me.

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