Why Is My Back Spasming
One minute you are sipping your coffee and the next moment you bend over to tie your shoe and BAM- a severe muscle spasm in your back sends you doubled over in pain, unable to stand up straight and maybe even heading to the Emergency Room. Unfortunately, a sudden onset of muscle spasm in the back is a common occurrence, but knowing what to do in the event of an episode will help you feel better and hopefully avoid a trip to the ER.
Muscle Spasms Of The Cervical Spine
If you feel a muscle spasm in your neck, its likely a contraction of the trapezius muscle, the large cape-shape muscle group that runs down the neck to the midback. A back spasm in the cervical spine could also signal a contraction of the sternocleidomastoid, located at the base of the skull on either side of the head.
When these cervical muscles spasm, the pain tends to be localized to the point of muscle irritation. But if the spasm is a symptom of an underlying inflammation or nerve irritation, it may radiate downward, Dr. Chaudhary says.
Symptoms That Might Indicate A Serious Condition
In some cases, back spasms may occur with other symptoms that can indicate a serious condition. It is important that a medical professional evaluate you in this situation.
Seek immediate medical care for anyone experiencing back spasms along with other serious symptoms, including:
- pain that awakens you or prevents you from sleeping
- pain that worsens in certain positions
- pain that extends to other areas of the body
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Conservative Treatment For Back Spasm
Conservative treatment is one of the option tried prior to medications and surgery. Conservative treatment helps to treat spasm in most cases. Conservative treatment prevents patients exposure to side effects of medications, interventional injection therapies and surgery. The intermittent back spasm often responds to conservative treatment if cause of spasm is not irritation or pinch nerve. In most cases combinations of conservative treatments are recommended. Conservative treatment is prescribed by primary care physician or specialist. Occasionally patient is referred to chiropractor or osteopathic physician. The services rendered by a chiropractor or an osteopathic doctor helps to get rid of the back spasms by reducing pressure sensitivity of trigger points that initiated muscle spasm. Massage therapy helps to relieve back spasm by enhancing flexibility, improving the blood flow to muscles and diminishing muscle tension.2 Therapeutic massage reduces muscle stiffness and diminishes sustained muscle contraction.
Choice Of Conservative Treatment For Back Spasm Are As Follows-
- Yoga Therapy
The medicines that are used in treating back spasms are the following-
NSAIDS- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Most often motrin, naproxen and celebrex are prescribed to treat back spasm.
Tylenol- Acetaminophen is used as a pain medication. Tylenol does not work as an anti-inflammatory medication.
What Are Back Spasms
A spasm is when your muscles suddenly and against your will. They may painfully twinge, seize or contract. The muscles in your upper, middle and lower back are divided into three types: intrinsic/deep muscles, superficial muscles and intermediate muscles. Lower back spasms are more common, but any muscle can contract.
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When To Call Your Doctor
A simple back spasm will usually go away with home treatment. You may be left with some back pain or soreness, but most back pain goes away within a few weeks. If you have radiating pain, recurrent back spasms, or severe back pain, call your doctor. Always get help right away if you have weakness of your back or loss of bowel or bladder control. If managing your back pain is interfering with the rest of your life, its time to see the doctor, says King.
Symptoms Of Back Spasms
While back pain can occur anywhere along the spine, it is more commonly felt in the lower back because the lower back supports most of your bodys weight.
You may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Dull, constant ache
- Difficulty standing upright
- Tension or chronic pain in the lower back
If you experience ongoing symptoms, it may be an indication that you have a deeper underlying anatomical problem in your spine.
If spasms keep recurring or if there is ongoing inflammation or instability in your back, you should seek medical attention.
How Muscle Spasms Feel
A spasm may be a twitch in the muscle or may feel tight or hard, like a knot. After the contraction stops, the muscle can feel sore and tender. Sometimes severe spasms can be incapacitating.
Specific home treatments are recommended to relieve a muscle spasm. These work for many people. But controlled studies have shown limited proof of the effectiveness of some of these remedies.
Here are some things to try:
Stretching the area that has the muscle spasm can usually help improve or stop the spasm from occurring. Below are stretches for the muscles in your calves, thighs, back, and neck.
First Aid For Back Spasms
When your back begins to spasm, these first aid at-home treatments may help relax the muscle, relieve pain and promote healing.
Subhed: Causes of back spasms: Perm J. . Treating Vitamin D Deficiency and Insufficiency in Chronic Neck and Back Pain and Muscle Spasm: A Case Series. https://www.thepermanentejournal.org/doi/10.7812/TPP/18.241
Subhed: Causes of back spasms: McGill University.. Magnesium: The often forgotten mineral. https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/health/magnesium#:~:text=Patients%20with%20low%20magnesium%20levels,can%20also%20cause%20muscle%20spasm
Subhed: Causes of back spasms: Australian Government Department of Health. . Potassium deficiency. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/potassium-deficiency
Subhed: Causes of back spasms: Arthritis Res Ther. . Physical inactivity is associated with narrower lumbar intervertebral discs, high fat content of paraspinal muscles and low back pain and disability. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-015-0629-y
Subhed: Causes of back spasms: PLoS One. . Scoping review and interpretation of myofascial pain/fibromyalgia syndrome: An attempt to assemble a medical puzzle. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0263087
Subhed: Causes of back spasms: Oman Med J. . Fibromyalgia syndrome: an overview of pathophysiology, diagnosis and management. https://www.omjournal.org/articleDetails.aspx?coType=1& aId=234
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Ways To Treat A Back Spasm At Home
You should always communicate with your doctor about severe or prolonged back pain.
In some cases, back spasms can go away on their own, and you may find relief from mild back spasms through at-home treatments.
At-home treatments that may relax affected muscles include:
- applying heat or cold â for example, placing a hot or cold pack wrapped in a cloth on the affected area
- massaging the muscles gently
- increasing fluid intake to treat dehydration
- stretching by gently holding the muscle in the stretched position until the spasm stops
- taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that are safe for you, with the guidance of a pharmacist or doctor
You should seek medical help for any muscle spasm that is severe, or for any back spasm that:
- occurs frequently
If necessary, your doctor will work to find the root cause of the spasms so that they can treat it.
Stretches For Calf Muscle Spasms
To do the first stretch:
This also works for a hamstring muscle spasm.
Other stretches to do:
- Stand and put your weight on the cramped leg, bending your knee slightly.
- Stand on your tiptoes for a few seconds.
- Lunge forward with the leg that isnt cramped, keeping the cramped leg straight.
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Massaging Your Lower Back
Sometimes, a good back massage may relieve the pain and discomfort that comes with muscle cramps and back spasms.
If you cannot get a professional massage, you can try out a home alternative. Gently rub the affected area of the muscle spasm over and over again, until you feel some sort of relief.
If youre experiencing persistent back spasms, consider pinching the area around the sensations and holding the pinch for a few minutes. You can ask someone to help out if your hands cant reach the area.
How Are Back Spasms Evaluated And Diagnosed
After talking to you about your symptoms and getting a list of your medications, your healthcare provider may ask about your entire medical history. Be sure to mention any trauma to your back. Your provider may diagnose your back spasms based on the symptoms you describe.
Which healthcare providers evaluate and diagnose back spasms?
You can see your primary healthcare provider about your back spasms. If needed, they may send you to a specialist.
What questions might a healthcare provider ask to help diagnose back spasms?
- What does the pain feel like?
- Where is the pain located?
- Have you ever loss control of your bowel or bladder?
- How long do the spasms last?
- How often do you have back spasms?
- Any stiffness?
- Do you get any tingling or numbness in your body?
- Do you ever feel weak or uncoordinated when youre having back spasms?
- What medications are you taking?
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What Causes Back Spasms
There are a number of possible causes for back spasms:
- Not using your muscles enough. If you sit too much, have poor posture, dont exercise or rarely use your back or stomach muscles, those muscles can get weak and spasm.
- Using your muscles too much. Athletes and those who do a lot of heavy lifting may experience back spasms. Such activities can cause a muscle strain, which is a tear, and that can cause inflammation.
- Dietary issues. Back spasms can be caused by too little water, potassium and/or calcium in your diet.
- Mental/emotional health issues. Anxiety and stress can tense up your muscles.
- Trauma. You may injure your back in a fall or car accident.
Sometimes, your back spasms may mean that you have a serious condition, including:
- Epidural abscess.
What Can I Do To Help The Pulled Muscle In My Low Back
A pulled muscle, no matter where it occurs, is just another name for a muscle strain. A muscle pull or strain occurs when all or an isolated portion of a muscle is stretched beyond its normal limits. This results in some degree of muscle tear, from a few micro-tears of muscle fibers to a massive ripping of an entire muscle . Regardless of the location of the muscle strain, treatment does not differ much a pulled back muscle should receive treatment that is fundamentally the same for a muscle tear in the leg or neck.
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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.
The Quickest Way To Relieve Your Muscle Cramp Naturally
Through my research and personal experience, heres the quickest natural way to stop your back muscle strain:
Magnesium oil/Epsom Salt hot bath.
Ill bet you want to know: why Magnesium oil?
Because when your back muscles go into spasm, the fastest way to relieve the pain is to simply relax them.
And Magensium, through my research, is the best natural muscle relaxant on the planet.
Magnesium oil is the best way to absorb Magnesium quickly, and definitely much faster than ingesting it.
It is absorbed through your skin fast and pulls excess fluids out of your tissues while reducing inflammation and relaxing your muscles.
All you have to do is rub some Mag. oil on your painful area and wait that aaaah moment.
If you want to supercharge this muscle spasm home treatment, hop into an Epsom salt bath at home.
The powerful combination of heat and the Magnesium in the Epsom salt can stop your back spasm in just a few minutes.
Next Step A Short Rest
Various studies have found that too much bed rest will worsen your condition.
When you rest, do not attempt to use the injured muscle in any way.
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Ii Take The Proper Dose Of Pain Medication
Be careful regarding the risks of relying on painkillers. It is a risk when it is your go to so thats why its not recommended until now and ONLY sometimes.
If the pain is severe and mobility is difficult, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory or anti-spasmodic medication may be required. Use with caution and only if needed.
There will be times when a muscle relaxant may seem like the only effective method. Please use caution as these drugs along with other relaxants have their side effects.
Medication will only address the pain, not the source. By not treating the cause, your spasm is very likely to return.
Pain medication also has a numbing effect . The effect can mislead you to believe that your symptoms have been treated when in reality, you simply cannot feel them. Desensitization may allow you to prematurely return to the activity or lifestyle that may have caused your spasm.
I have heard a lot of people do this too often only to end up with both permanent soft tissue and bone injury. If you numb these areas with drugs, they cant warn you anymore.
When these nerves have become temporarily desensitized, you are more likely to re-injure yourself without your awareness.
Minimize your dosage
Rehydrate And Rebuild Your Nutrient Stores
Make sure that you are drinking enough fluids as dehydration and loss of electrolytes affect the length and success of your recovery. Low blood calcium, magnesium and potassium levels can affect some people who suffer from spasms.
These levels will fall drastically during intense exercise and can contribute to the problem of muscle contractions. If you allow these conditions to become chronic, you end up with muscle imbalances which will put your back at risk again.
A very good friend of mine told me about her chronic nightmares of spasms and pain. She tried everything only to finally resolve them by increasing her calcium, magnesium and potassium levels adequately with a supplement. It didnt take long for her to feel a lot better. She said it was like night and day. Its definitely worth a try if you havent considered it yet?
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Injection Treatment For Back Spasm
Injection treatment is also known as interventional therapy. Injection therapy involves insertion of needle and injection of medication or Steroid Injections. In this context, it is important to say that some of the medicines which work for some may not work for others. Therefore, it is important for the patient to consult a physician prior to taking medicines for back pain.
Trigger point injection Trigger point injection procedure for treating back spasm is performed by placing tip of the needle over the most painful trigger point within the muscle. Placement of needle is often done using X-Ray or ultrasound images. Once the needle is placed within the muscles then mixture of local anesthetics and corticosteroid amounting 3 to 5 ccs is injected. Procedure is repeated 2 or 3 times at 2 weeks interval.
Corticosteroid Epidural Injection- Corticosteroid epidural injection is performed to relieve back spasm when spasm is caused by irritation or pinch of spinal nerve. Thus, patient diagnosed of spinal stenosis and foraminal stenosis are considered for epidural steroid injection. The procedure is performed using X-Ray image intensifier.
Best Superfoods & Herbs For Back Inflammation
The #1 food for lower back inflammation pain is by far Turmeric. It can actually replace your NSAIDs all together and is fully backed by thousands of studies.
You can take Turmeric in standardized capsules or you can easily add it to your meals.
If you want it to be fully potent, add just a little black pepper and healthy fat to make it most bioavailable.
If you dont like the taste of Turmeric, you can add it to your green smoothie .
If you add a banana in there, or a few dates, you wont feel the taste at all.
Always use organic Turmeric to avoid nasty chemicals.
Not only is ginger a culinary marvel, but its health benefits are also stunning.
Ginger has some extremely potent anti-inflammation compounds, called gingerols.
There are many studies proving how effective ginger can be in the fight against inflammation when consumed regularly.
Studies have found that Ginger has the ability to inhibit nitrous oxide and is helpful for all general inflammatory processes.
The best way to use Ginger would be adding it fresh to your meals or your green smoothies . You can find fresh organic ginger root powder here.
3. Fish Oil
Fish oil can effectively ease inflammation and pain caused by many chronic conditions. The dose used in most convincing research is 2 to 4 grams of DHA + EPA daily.
Make sure to get fish oil from organic-raised fish, without additives and clean from heavy metals and toxins, like this one.
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How Are Back Spasms Treated
Healthcare providers used to prescribe bed rest for those who deal with back spasms. Such inactivity is no longer recommended. Instead, follow your provider’s instructions about the following:
- Ice/heat: Apply ice or heat to the location of your back spasms. Wrap the ice pack or heating pad in a towel or pillowcase and apply it to your skin for 20 to 30 minutes. Then reapply after 20 to 30 minutes.
- Over-the-counter pain medications: Over-the-counter pain medications, including acetaminophen , naproxen or ibuprofen .
- Muscle relaxants: Your provider may recommend taking a muscle relaxant like cyclobenzaprine, metaxalone or methocarbamol. If you do take them, take them at night and only for 72 hours or less.
- Physical therapy: Your healthcare provider might prescribe physical therapy, where you can learn relaxation techniques and stretches for your back muscles.