Derrick Favors Sidelined With Back Spasms


The team has not said how long Favors will be out and has been listed as questionable for various games.

A back spasm is when the muscles tense up, contract suddenly and can cause mild to severe pain.  The trouble is that back spasms are indicators of another problem.

“Back spasms tend to be a secondary to what is truly going on. It’s our body’s way of protecting itself,” said Jan Watts, physical therapist athletic trainer for Park City Medical Center. “In terms of a back spasm what that is trying to do is prevent him from loading or moving in certain ways. It can be caused by a number of things.”

The main problem could be a number of different ailments: herniated discs, strained muscles, joint damage are just a few options. The Jazz have not disclosed a specific injury to his back. The injury could occur from sudden trauma or was building for a long time.

“Things can just happen for no apparent reason and it becomes an accumulation of microtraumas to the system,” said Watts.

One scenario could be attributed to the chairs that the players sit on in the bench area, Watts said, mentioning that they are sitting in a horrible posture. Everyone’s environment has an effect on their backs.

“The chairs we sit in, the clothing you wear, the pillows you use, the car seat you sit in,” Watts said about some of the environment problems.

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Initially you want to apply ice, stretch and get some rest. Watts said that hopefully that will help break up the spasm. While heat feels good, it also causes fluid to build up in an area that is already inflamed. Ice helps slow down the nerve connectivity and has an anesthetic effect.

Still, even after the spasm is gone, you need to identify the main culprit.

“The key is you need to find out why he is having the back spasm. That’s the real story,” Watts said. “Sometimes it is just that he needs healing time. If he has herniated a disc, he needs to have healing time. He doesn’t need to be loading up that disc right now.”

For more information on back issues, visit Intermountain Healthcare’s back pain section.