Just standing there...mid back tightens up and spasms

Yesterday while at work I’m just standing there talking to a co-worker and my mid back starts spasming. I fly airplanes so for the next 4 hours I’m uncomfortable as hell shifting positions often trying to relax.

The pain is definitely mid back and feels like the spinae erector muscles are locked up. Now why they locked up is a mystery.

Anyone experience this and how did you resolve it? A bit desperate as I have a big race this week end. Unfortunately, my Doc is on vacation and not available until after the race.

I’ve had two back spasms in the past year about 6 months apart. The first one was really bad and followed a small tweak like what you experienced. The small tweak was painful but not bad. But later that night as I was walking across my apartment, and suddenly it spasmed hard and I was locked up with all my muscles tensed for about 30 minutes before they finally released. It was really scary and I could barely breath because the muscles were so tense.

Naturally, I saw my doctor about it and he told me to use a heating pad on and off for 10 minutes at a time and to pay attention to posture. This definitely helped ease the muscles, but recovery took about 10 days. Once the pain had subsided some, he gave me the clearance to ride the bike at lower intensities. I did Z2 for about a week and then ramped up the week after at a slow and deliberate pace to gauge how I was feeling. Luckily I had no other issues as I did this. I also did all of my rides indoors at that time as a safety precaution.

The second time was a couple months ago. It was nowhere near as bad in pain or in debilitation. I skipped workouts for about 3-4 days before getting back on the bike. Just like last time, I started with Z2 and worked up to more intense workouts to gauge my body’s response and feelings. I scaled much more quickly that time as it wasn’t as intense and experience. I’ve been good since and used the heating pad to smooth things out as well.

That was my experience, and I 100% recommend going to the doctor. I presume their office can refer you to somebody while they are on vacation. It was worth it for me and gave me peace of mind. If I were in your shoes, I would not race as I’d feel as though I were jeopardizing the whole peloton if it were to spasm in the race.

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Welcome to your fifties! Mystery aches and pains are so much fun :joy:

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If it’s not a reoccurring problem I wouldn’t read too much into it, and if the muscles tensed up they will stay that way for a bit as the protect the spine. I get “cross-back” at some point every race season and have started doing preventative strengthening routines such as bird dogs and McGill crunches. Check out human vortex training on YT with USA cycling coach Menachem Brodie

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First question - how does it feel on the bike? When I get muscle tightness in my back, sometimes it is not an issue when riding.

If the muscles have not released in a day or so, and you do have a big race this weekend, you may want to consider a trip to an urgent care facility (not an ER) and see if you can get a Rx for some muscle relaxants.

I have found that when I get similar tightness, it can last over a week. Relaxants may get your over the edge sooner.

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So this is the first back pain in some time. I don’t remember the last…and this happened off the bike after not riding or doing much for a couple days. Tapering…

@BCrossen thanks! It happens to be master nationals so I’m bummed…at a PT now thousands of miles from home right now. The things we do for this sport!

And they happen at the worst times!!! Grrr!

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Oof not the race I was expecting it to be. Crossing my fingers you’re in the clear! :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:

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Hoping it mysteriously disappears too! I’m battling two mystery issues right now. Definitely have more mysteries when I slack off lifting and 12-min foundation training.

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Me too.

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I had something with my lower back a while back that was brutal. Anti-inflammatories and eventually catabolic steroids helped relax the back. But it did take a few days to not be really painful. The bike wasn’t too much of an issue, more the fear that I was going to move weirdly and cause the muscles to spasm again while I was riding.
Best of luck getting healed up and racing!

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I fixed all my low back pain with a light body weight workout, core work, and some hip flexor stretching. If I do this little routine 3X per week, the back pain never comes back.

Landis, if you sit a lot google “lower cross syndrome” and the related exercises to correct it. The basic prescription is to strengthen glutes (step ups), tone the core, and stretch the hip flexors.

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dry needling!!!