What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Gentle Twists For Your Back
This gentle stretch can offer relief for tight muscles along your flanks. Sit in a chair and cross your right leg over the left with your right foot pointing down toward the floor .
Turn your body gently toward the right. Drape your left arm over the outside of your right leg and apply mild pressure until you feel a gentle stretch in your back. Hold that stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat it on the other side.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Youre unable to stand or walk.
- You have a temperature over 101.0°F
- You have frequent, painful, or bloody urination.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You have a sharp, stabbing pain.
- Your pain is constant.
- You have pain or numbness in your leg.
- You feel pain in a new area of your back.
- You notice that the pain isnt decreasing after more than a week.
Contact your healthcare provider immediately for the following:
- Pain radiating down the leg
- Pain that is accompanied by fever, weakness in the leg, or loss of control of the bladder or bowels
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Consciously Try To Relax Your Muscles With Slow Deep Breaths
Seriously, I know this much easier said than done, but you NEED to do it.
If you learn to breathe the right way, it wont hurt so easily. Breathing poorly will move your rib cage too erratically and might trigger your back muscles again.
Try to relax your muscles when they are in spasm with slow, deep and controlled breaths. Its pretty painful to breathe deeply when you have a full attack, but it will get you to focus more.
We tend to breathe very quickly and shallow when we are in pain. Shallow breaths or even holding your breath is a natural reaction, but will only add to the discomfort.
Potential Side Effects Of Electrotherapy Treatment
Skin irritation where electrodes are placed is the most common side effect of electrotherapy. Certain electrotherapy patients have developed eczematous lesions due to this skin irritation .
Most conservative treatments for upper back pain are relatively safe, though you should be careful to follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure proper risk management.
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Applying Cold Packs And Heat To Your Back
Regular hot or cold therapy can loosen the tightness around your back muscles and relieve spasms. Both therapies help to relax your muscles and ease the side effects of muscle spasms.
Hot Therapy for Muscle Spasms
Apply a heating pad to the area around the spasms for 15 to 20 minutes. After this, massage the area with a cold compress to calm any inflammation caused by the heating pad.
If youd rather do without the pad, try having a warm bath, hot tub or spa session, or a hot shower.
Cold Therapy for Muscle Spasms
Chiropractic Care & Acupuncture
Chiropractic care is another popular natural treatment for back pain due to sudden muscle spasms.
In a chiropractic care center, chiropractors use techniques like palpation, pressure, massage, manual manipulation of the spine, exercise programs and lifestyle counseling. Together, these techniques help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.
Consult a doctor of chiropractic medicine for proper treatment, depending on the exact cause of your muscle spasm.
Like chiropractic care, acupuncture is another effective option to treat back muscle spasms.
In acupuncture, certain points on the body are stimulated with acupuncture needles to help relax the tight muscles. This in turn reduces pain and inflammation.
Always have acupuncture done by a skilled and experienced acupuncturist.
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Causes Of Back Spasms
The most common cause is a muscle strain from overuse, twisting, or lifting. This type of spasm can be very painful but it only lasts for several minutes, until the muscles relax. After the spasm passes, you may still have other symptoms of back strain like:
- Stabbing or aching pain
- Pain that gets worse with bending, standing, or walking
- Recurrent back spasms
Other causes go deeper, like peeling the layers of an onion. Beneath a superficial back muscle strain may be a diseased disc or a pinched nerve. Nerves that leave the spinal cord can get irritated or damaged inside or outside the spine, explains King. Your spine is made up of small bones called vertebrae stacked one on top of the other. Between the bones are cushions called discs, nerves, and muscle attachments called ligaments. Disks can tear or slip out of place. A damaged disc can put pressure on nerves leaving the spinal cord. If you have any type of back pain that moves down your buttocks into your leg, called radicular pain, you should call your doctor, says King:
- Pain radiating into your leg or buttocks is a sign of nerve irritation.
- Pain that includes numbness and tingling may mean nerve injury.
- Pain that causes weakness or loss of bowel or bladder control means a severe injury and requires an emergency visit.
Symptoms: Lower Back Pain And Stiffness That Is The Most Pronounced In The Morning And In The Evening
Includes any combination of the below symptoms:
- Pain that interrupts sleep
- Pain that is most pronounced first thing in the morning and again toward the end of the day
- Localized tenderness when the affected area of the spine is pressed
- Aching, steady or intermittent pain in the lower back that is aggravated by extended activity
- Stiffness or loss of flexibility in the back
Facet joint osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine, is a degenerative condition that develops gradually over time. The pain is caused by the breakdown of the cartilage between the facet joints in the spine. At first the symptoms may only be intermittent, but can later develop into steadier pain in the lower back, and may eventually cause sciatica in addition to lower back pain.
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Start These 2 Simple But Very Effective Exercises Now
What you can do now at this point is to practice these 2 simple exercises. They are among many specific and targeted exercises from the eBook which are the Seated Twist and the Lying Twist. They will help you both to loosen, strengthen and stabilize your spine, making it much easier for you to turn and reach to avoid triggering another spasm.
Reducing your back spasms will also reduce muscle guarding, a major factor which causes many to suffer from recurring pain in the morning.
The Seated and Lying Twist exercises help to release tight, lower back muscles which can fatigue and trigger a spasm. If you suffer from them, you may find that even these simple movements can be difficult to execute in full range.
As with all exercises, dont force yourself to perform the full stretch right away. You may cause more pain by doing this. Work your way up one degree or inch at a time very slowly over several days. Remember, your body is NOT accustomed to such movement.
It is common to trigger yourself by reaching or moving in a twisted position due to excessive tightness. They can strike during even the most mundane and simple of action such as reaching for a pen on the floor. These exercises help you to improve these tight areas to protect you.
- Dont Bend and Lift the Wrong Way. Try a Safer Way to Lift.
STRETCH AND STRENGTHEN THE MUSCLES THAT ARE PRONE TO SPASM WHILE CONDITIONING THE CORE MUSCLES THAT PROTECT YOU
Back spasms are NOT a quick fix problem.
Causes And Diagnosis Of A Pulled Back Muscle
Trauma, stress, and tension may all cause strains and sprains. Some of the most common causes include:
- Falling, especially if you hit the ground hard or fall in an awkward position.
- Repetitive movements that stress and irritate the back muscles.
- Unsafe lifting, lifting while twisting, or lifting a very heavy object. Parents sometimes injure their backs throwing or playing with children.
- Excess weight that puts excess strain on back muscles. People who are overweight, people who suddenly gain weight, and pregnant women are more vulnerable to pulled muscles.
- A sedentary lifestyle. This may weaken the back, increasing the risk of injuries.
- Poor posture when sitting or bad form when doing athletic activities.
A medical professional may suspect a strain or sprain based on symptoms and your medical history. If another injury, such as a broken bone or herniated disc, is possible, the provider may do other tests, such as an x-ray or MRI scan.3
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Home Remedies For Back Spasms 7 Effective Ways To Treat
This type of home remedies for back spasms definitely works to decrease major aching.
How to use?
- When you move, roll or try to get up you must place all your fingers or tips of the fingers closer to the spine and over the spasm and start pressing down.
- Press harder and harder while you moving your fingers. In case if you have stood completely try and wait for a few seconds. This method certainly works great
Inhale Slowly And Deeply For A Count Of 5 Seconds Pause 1 Second And Exhale 3
Visualization will help by imagining a tight knot being unraveled as you inhale. Picture the muscles extending as you inhale to stretch your rib cage fully.
As the muscles are contracting intensely, they are also over contracting, making it counter-productive.
Since you have already stopped moving, you are now trying to shut off the muscles need also to do this. Breathing deeply is key to relaxing a muscle which is becoming progressively shorter and more painful.
As you try to relax, avoid any movements that allow the muscle to shorten
Because of the intensity, duration and source of the injury, it is natural to react and to contract your body further. Even unwillingly.
To avoid this, focus on slowly inhaling while at the same time minimizing your movements. When in contraction, the reduced circulation and the build up of lactic acid makes you feel much worse.
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Heat Or Cold Treatment
Ice and Heat tend to provide some relief from the pain that is caused by the back spasms. It tends to provide immediate relief and could be used throughout the day for pain management.
How to use?
- Apply ice to a back spasm for the first 48 to 72 hours.
- Apply ice for 20 minutes, remove for 1.5 hours, then re-apply for 20 minutes.
- Repeat this cycle as often as possible during the first 2 to 3 days after a back spasm begins.
Low Back Pain From Osteoarthritis
Typically, the low back pain is most pronounced first thing in the morning. Throughout the day, normal movement causes fluid to build up in the joint and it becomes better lubricated, which decreases the pain. Later in the day the pain typically becomes worse again as more stress is applied across the joint.
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More Advanced Care Options
Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:
Implanted nerve stimulators
- Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
- Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.
Is It Sciatica Pain
Sciatica happens when the sciatic nerve in your spine becomes irritated and causes pain. Because this extra-long nerve extends down your legs, it can cause pain anywhere from the lower back to the toes. Pain can be mild or severe.
Its typically a symptom of something else. A herniated disc, for example, can cause sciatic nerve compression or inflammation. Its also one of the most common reasons for this type of radiating nerve pain. Other conditions that may cause sciatica include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Blood tests
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Avoid Rushing Into The 2 Most Common Mistakes For Treatment
MISTAKE #1. Do not to rush into basic strengthening exercises such as sit-ups, crunches or lower back extensions. This may help for some, but in most cases, these areas are already tight, short and strong. Tightness and overly strong muscle conditioning is usually the case with the lower back and hamstrings.
MISTAKE #2. Simply resting and returning to your daily whatever. Werent you doing this JUST BEFORE it happened? No, my friend. There needs to be a plan and you are here for actual solutions right?
Observe the degree of your pelvic tilt. The three common positions are neutral, anterior and posterior. An excessive angle can trigger another spasm.
Exercises such as sit-ups and crunches can help but should not be done first as they are considered as isolation type exercises. They do not condition the core muscle groups to protect you. If you are in need of some specific exercises, begin with these 10 exercises.
Two Common Causes Of Back Muscle Spasms
The first reason is that your muscles are trying to protect themselves from muscle strain. A back spasm can occur after any type of strain or injury to your soft tissues or the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your spine. Thankfully, back muscle spasms caused by muscle strain, will typically calm down in about a week.
Another reason your muscles may spasm is in response to an underlying anatomical problem. If your back spasm doesn’t get better in 1 to 2 weeks, or if the spasm flares up periodically in the same area of your back, you may have an underlying anatomical problem. Examples of underlying issues that can cause your back to spasm include, facet joint osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis. If you have an underlying anatomical problem, your muscle may react to the pain and inflammation by spasming. In this case, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention to both treat your acute pain and to address the underlying cause of your symptoms.
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What Signs Should I Look For That Can Indicate A Back Spasm
If youve ever felt that your muscles in your lower back are tight or contracting, had a dull ache in your back when you moved, or a sharp pain in a specific area of your back, you likely experienced a muscle spasm. Lower back spasms can range from being mildly bothersome to intensely painful.
While some people feel a muscle spasm in a concentrated area of their backs, others find that their discomfort radiates to other nearby areas, including their hips or legs.
Specific symptoms signaling you could be having a back spasm include:
- Tension and tightness in your lower back
- Intermittent cramping in your lower back
- Intense pain in the lower back that comes on suddenly
- Lower back muscle weakness
- Difficulty moving after picking up an object or bending over
- Tightness in the back after standing, sitting, or driving for extended periods.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Back pain after a severe blow or fall
- Burning with urination or blood in your urine
- History of cancer
- Loss of control over urine or stool
- Pain traveling down your legs below the knee
- Pain that is worse when you lie down or pain that wakes you up at night
- Redness or swelling on the back or spine
- Severe pain that does not allow you to get comfortable
- Unexplained fever with back pain
- Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis
Also call if:
- You have been losing weight unintentionally
- You use steroids or intravenous drugs
- You have had back pain before, but this episode is different and feels worse
- This episode of back pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks
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How Upper Back Spasms Are Diagnosed
Muscle spasms vary in frequency and severity depending on the cause and patient. Back pain due to spasms is diagnosed using several scales that allow a patient to report their level of muscle tightness.
The Modified Ashworth Scale developed in 1987 is most commonly used today. The 4-point scale ranges from a 0, for which muscle tone doesnât increase at all, to a 4, for which muscle is rigid in flexion or extension .
Upper back muscle spasms are self-diagnosed based on several scales that grade the frequency and intensity of muscle spasms. These spasms vary greatly in intensity, frequency, and duration from person to person.