Physical Therapy For Back Spasms: What You Should Know
According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is one of the leading causes of missed work and the second most common reason to visit a doctor . An estimated 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Lower back pain is the most frequently reported, although pain can occur anywhere in the back.
Fortunately, the vast majority of back pain is biomechanical in nature, and a great deal of it can be attributed to muscle spasms. Physical therapy is an excellent way to relieve back spasms and other causes of back pain. Heres what you should know.
Sacroiliac Joint Disease As A Cause Of Lower Back Pain
Sacroiliac joints connect the sacrum located at the bottom of your spine with your hips on either side. When you move this joint excessively or too little then you can get a sacroiliac joint disease or dysfunction. It simply means lower back pain, sometimes accompanied by buttock or groin pain. These are the symptoms of lower back pain due to sacroiliac joint disease.
- It is actually an ache which is known as continuous, dull pain. It is not an acute pain.
- Not only in lower back, you have pain in your hips, groin, and thighs too.
- The pain worsens when you sit. It relieves when you lie down or even sit in a reclining position.
- Pain is also relieved when you change your position.
Ice packs, compression and support braces are used for immediate relief from pain due to sacroiliac joint disease. Chiropractic manipulation is sometimes recommended to make the alignment and movement of this joint normal. Rest is also important to treat such pain. Heat can be applied only when intense pain subsides. Controlled gradual physical therapy and certain lower back exercises are also essential to strengthen the muscles around your sacroiliac joint. Apart from these, gentle and low impact aerobic exercises are helpful in increasing blood circulation of the area which contributes in relieving lower back pain.
and coccydynia. Depression and stress too may lead to chronic lower back pain.
How Can I Get Rid Of Back Spasms
When your back is stiff or weak, it becomes prone to injury. While most muscle spasms in your back are harmless and can be treated effectively, some indicate that there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. It is the bodys natural protection mechanism usually indicating a strained or pulled muscle. Several factors can lead to back spasms, including injuries to tendons, muscles and ligaments in the back. Some health conditions, such as arthritis and vitamin D deficiency, can also lead to back spasms. Lifting heavy items and engaging in certain activities, including sports, are also common causes of back spasms. An individual with weak abdominal muscles may be prone to vulnerable, unsupported back muscles. Below are a few common methods to get rid of back spasms
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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.
Sit Up Straight And Be Still
For some strange reason, many people that suffer report that moving around or lying down makes symptoms worse.
Its not uncommon for the dizziness to accompany this pain. Sit in an upright position with correct posture until the attack passes.
Though the first response is to lye down to get relief, in this case, you are better sitting up.
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When Should You Call Your Doctor
“Acute back pain with a muscle spasm should not last more than eight to 12 hours. If you are still having persistent, severe pain or spasms after 12 hours, call your doctor. You should also call if you have pain with weakness or numbness or any loss of bowel or bladder control,” Dr. Cornett says.
The AAOS recommends that you call your doctor if you have residual back pain that has not gone away in a few weeks. Small disc tears that occur with aging can last for weeks or months. Discs can also shrink and collapse, called disc degeneration, or protrude out between the spinal bones, called disk herniation. A herniated disc can cause pressure on your sciatic nerve with pain, weakness or numbness shooting down your leg to your foot.
Heat And Ice For Back Pain
A hot water bottle or heat pad may help ease muscle spasm and pain. Make sure your skin is protected dont put heat pads directly on your skin. You can buy pads that you put over your clothing on the area that hurts. These are available from pharmacies and last for several hours.
Ice packs may also be helpful, especially in the first few days of any injury. Make sure you wrap the ice pack in a towel to protect your skin. You can apply the pack to the area that hurts for 15 minutes at a time.
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Symptoms Of A Pulled Back Muscle
Symptoms of a pulled back muscle depend on where the injury is. The spine is divided into three major sections: the neck, upper back and shoulders, and lower back.
For a pulled muscle in the neck, you might experience:3
- Pain in the neck and upper back area
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain radiating to the shoulders or arms
Pulled muscles in the shoulders and upper back may cause:
- Pain in the area between the spine and shoulder blade
- Muscle spasms in the upper back
- Knots and tightness in the upper back and shoulders
- Pain when moving the shoulders
In lower back strain injuries, many people experience symptoms such as:3
- Aching and stiffness in lower back muscles
- Pain that worsens with movement
- Pain that radiates to the hips and legs
- Limited range of motion
- Muscle spasms in lower back area
- Pain when sitting, standing, or walking
Can Anxiety Cause Muscle Spasms
What causes muscle twitching? Stress Anxiety and stress can cause twitching by releasing neurotransmitters from the nerves supplying the muscles. Also, anxiety can make you hyperventilate, or breathe faster, which changes the ions concentration and pH in your body, and predisposes you to muscle twitching.
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Is It Time For Back Surgery
Back surgery is often a last resort when all other treatment options have been tried. Surgery may be considered an option to relieve pain caused by serious musculoskeletal injuries or nerve compression resulting from vertebrae shifting or collapsing.
Back surgeries often have a long recovery period, and some patients may lose mobility and flexibility post-surgery. It is also important to note that not all surgical procedures are successful. As such, it is important for patients to talk with their physicians and know all of the risks associated with a procedure before undergoing back surgery.
How Do You Prevent Your Next Lumbar Muscle Spasm
First, you have to listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
The muscle spasm in your back tells you that something is wrong. The pain should not be ignored and never attempt to push through the pain, it will only cause more damage.
If you are very physically active, or alternatively not active enough, daily lower back stretches are critical to preventing the next muscle cramp.
This video demonstrates the best stretch for lower back pain:
While stretching is important, its not enough.
If you are serious about ending the pain in the lower back, these are the best natural treatments:
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Medicines For Muscle Spasm
If youre having muscle spasm, your doctor may prescribe a medicine called a benzodiazepine to relax your muscles. Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed as a short course one tablet up to three times a day for up to five days.
Diazepam is prescribed for a short time because there can be problems with withdrawal symptoms and dependency if you take it for a long time. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, difficulty sleeping, confusion, loss of appetite, sweating and heart palpitations.
All medicines come with the risk of side-effects. These are the temporary unwanted effects of a medicine. The main side-effects of taking diazepam are feeling drowsy and being less able to concentrate. Its very important to follow your doctors advice about driving especially if the advice is not to drive. Even if you only take diazepam at night, it can affect your ability to drive the following day.
Heating Pads To Reduce Back Spasm
Heating pads are as effective as the cold compresses. Heating pads are known to bring relief from pain and spasm in the affected area. Some people use cold and heat application alternatively upon the affected area. The physical therapist can render much help as well as personal suitability and choice regarding this type of alternate cold and hot therapy for back spasm.
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How Long Do Back Spasms Last & What To Do For It
The answer to the question How long do back spasm last depends on answer to the question what causes back spasm? Back spasms is a severe continuous contraction of paravertebral muscles. Paravertebral muscle is also known as back muscles. Expert suggestions reveal that if a person is suffering from back spasms, then to heal it, the person needs to remain active. However, as far as the recovery period of back spasms is concerned, it also depends on the intensity of the pain. If the pain associated with back spasm is sharp and intense then it may take a longer time to heal. However, the back spasms caused because of a strain, injury to the soft tissue, resolves within three to six weeks. During the three or six weeks the back spasms can be very painful.
- Vertebral Column Tumor
Release Your Hip Flexors
The hip flexors are attached to the lumbar spine and can cause chronic lower back pain.
The majority of people have tight hip flexors due to our sedentary lifestyle. We sit almost all day. The hip flexors shorten and become overactive as a result.
This leads to muscular imbalances and spasms in the lower back and pelvis regions.
I have step-by-step tutorials on how to release the hips flexors and Im sure this will help you get relief from lower back pain. Just give it a try a few times a week.
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What Causes Muscle Spasms And What Is The Best Way To Treat Muscle Spasms
Dr.Steven Ludwig answers the question: ‘Muscle Spasms — Causes And Treatment?’
Muscle Spasms — Causes And Treatment?
— Question: What Causes Muscle Spasms And What Is The Best Way To Treat Muscle Spasms?
Answer: Muscle spasm results from inflammation that occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn. It begins as a muscle strain, which doesn’t sound like a serious injury, but it can cause severe low back pain. Many people go to the emergency room each year because of a muscle strain. In fact, most episodes of acute lower back pain are caused by damage to the muscles and/or ligaments in the low back.
Muscle strains are also known as a pulled muscle. When the muscles in the lower back are strained or torn, the area around the muscles can become inflamed. With inflammation, the muscles can spasm leading to severe low back pain and difficulty moving. Lower back pain from a muscle strain occurs most frequently after lifting a heavy object, lifting while twisting, or a sudden movement or fall. The pain is usually localized, meaning it doesn’t radiate to the leg. The area may be sore to the touch, the patient usually feels better when resting.
Fortunately, muscle strains usually heal with time in a couple of days or weeks because muscles in the lower back have a good blood supply to bring the necessary nutrients and proteins for healing to take place.
Whats Causing The Pain
There are two components to this answer and we often see patients whom only address the first layer which creates a vicious cycle of chronic pain or recurring episodes of acute pain. The first component is muscle spans, the issue most likely causing your pain right now. Muscle spasms occur when the large muscles on either side of your spine convulse involuntarily as a way of providing added stability to the spine. Your body uses this as a protective mechanism that can unfortunately cause severe pain.
People who know this typically reach for ice, heat, balms, electrical units, and even muscle relaxants. Its true that getting your muscles to relax will relieve your pain, but theres something else lurking under those muscles that, if left unaddressed, will leave yourself vulnerable to lingering pain or, even worse, another episode of severe lower back pain.
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Remedies To Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast
We all want to know the best way to relieve lower back pain fast. At best, backache can be frustrating, perhaps draining. At its worst, this kind of discomfort can be utterly debilitating. If you have ever awakened with a terrible backache, you may have also learned how quickly such an ailment can derail your day, your week, or even several months or years.
Fortunately, there are remedies to combat that ache. From exercising to getting better sleep to reducing your stress levels, you can choose from a variety of strategies. The next time you have a backache , consider the following methods of back pain relief. Remember to discuss at-home back pain remedies with your doctor before you make use of them.
Avoid Prolonged Static Posture
It is important to pay attention to the joints and muscles of your spine and hip. Prevent fatigue and stresses on these joints by following simple tips, such as:
- Avoid excessive sitting or consider using a standing desk while you work. When you sit for a long duration, the pressure on your spinal discs increase. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your discs.
When you have a flare-up of symptoms, consider less exertive activities, such as reading a book, listening to music, or crafting. These activities can help divert your mind from the pain and let your back rest at the same time.
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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.
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.
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Treating Lower Back Pain: How Much Bed Rest Is Too Much
Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit a health care provider. The good news is that the pain often goes away on its own, and people usually recover in a week or two. Many people want to stay in bed when their back hurts. For many years, getting bed rest was the normal advice. But current studies recommend no bed rest at all and stress that staying in bed longer than 48 hours not only wont help but it may, in fact, actually delay your recovery. Heres why:
Staying in bed wont help you get better faster.If youre in terrible pain, lying down for a day to help ease the distress may seem like a good idea, but moderating your activities and staying active in a limited way is a more effective way to control your symptoms. Research suggests that if you can find comfortable positions and keep moving, you may not need bed rest at all.Research shows that:
- Lying down longer than a day or two day isnt helpful for relieving back pain.
- People can recover more quickly without any bed rest.
- The sooner you start moving, even a little bit, or return to activities such as walking, the faster you are likely to improve.
Who needs bed rest?Almost no one! The only people who might require time in bed are those with unstable spinal fractures awaiting surgery.
When should I see a health care provider?You should see your health care provider right away if:
- Heat or ice
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