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What To Do For Back Pain And Spasms

What Do I Do If I Experience A Muscle Spasm

What to do when your back spasms
  • Lie flat on your back with your legs elevated.
  • Take slow steady deep breaths in and out and try to relax your back muscles. Do not take shallow breaths. It may take several minutes or even longer for the pain to start to decrease.
  • Use ice for the first 24 to 72 hours. Use a protective cover and apply for 20 minutes every 1-2 hours.
  • After 72 hours, apply moist heat for 20 minutes every 1-2 hours. You may also alternate ice and moist heat if you prefer.
  • Attempt to slowly straighten up in small increments.
  • Once you are able to stand up straight try to perform some light stretching. See end of blog for some gentle stretches to try at home.
  • If your back is still painful after 1-2 weeks or if you are having recurring episodes of back muscle spasms, please schedule an appointment for a physical therapy evaluation. The Physical Therapy Team at Pro Physio can help you find relief from your back spasms. In our office we will provide a comprehensive examination to develop a plan of care personalized for you. Your treatment may include some or all of the following.

  • Spinal decompression or traction therapy
  • Relaxing pain relief modalities such as ultrasound or muscle e-stim
  • Manual therapy to decrease pain and improve soft tissue and joint health
  • Therapeutic exercises to improve strength and flexibility
  • Home exercise program to prevent the muscle spasms from occurring in the future
  • Upper Back Spasms: Dont Let Them Rule Your Life

    Upper back spasms are quite uncomfortable. The back is such a huge part of the body, physically and in terms of movement. You use your back for walking, sitting, and lying down. When using your arms to lift or move anything, you are also engaging the muscles in your back. Luckily, for many of the causes of upper back spasms, they can be dealt with naturally at home. That being said, if you are unsure of the extent of your back spasm problems, go see a doctor to get checked out.

    Related Article:

    Dehydration: A Common Cause Of Muscle Cramps

    Symptoms and Signs of Dehydration

    As the level of water loss increases, more symptoms can become apparent. The following are further signs and symptoms of dehydration.

    • Dry mouth
  • Heart muscle pumps blood .
  • Skeletal muscle moves the external body parts, like the arms and legs, neck, back, trunk, and face.
  • Smooth muscle moves portions of hollow structures inside the body. Examples include the muscles that line the esophagus, stomach, and intestines, muscles that line large arteries, and the muscles of the uterus.
  • Read Also: Mayo Clinic Low Back Pain Exercises

    Treating Lower Back Spasms

    If your spasms do begin after an injury or an activity that stressed the muscles, try alternating ice and heat on your back. Ice will help reduce inflammation and heat may help improve blood flow.

    Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants may help relieve symptoms while the muscles heal. Research supports that muscle relaxants provide significant pain relief in short-term muscle spasms.

    Injections of an anti-inflammatory medication may also help. But there are potential side effects with every medication. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of these injections.

    Chiropractic care may help, but be sure to see a doctor to have your condition properly diagnosed first. Physical therapy to help strengthen your back and abdominal muscles is often recommended, as long as the muscles are healthy enough for exercise.

    When To Consider Surgery

    Pin on back pain remedy

    If pain and sciatica persist for three months or more, its considered chronic and may need a higher level of care. Many people at this stage start thinking about surgery.

    Injections of anti-inflammatory steroids into the area near the inflamed nerve and ruptured disc may help to delay surgery, but they arent a long term solution. Injections can provide relief for up to a few months, but the relief will wear off. There are limits on how many injections you can safely have in a given year.

    The most common surgery is called diskectomy. Surgical techniques vary, but diskectomy removes part of the ruptured disc so it doesnt press on the spinal nerve roots anymore. In many cases, it can be done as an outpatient procedure.

    Disc surgery is not guaranteed to work, and the pain might get worse. The disc may rupture again later, or a different disc may fail.

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    The Causes Of Upper Back Spasms

    Muscle spasms in the upper back can be caused by any number of things: injury, awkward movement, or certain physical conditions. None of these causes are particularly pleasant. But with that in mind, there are some causes a little more common than others and there are some other causes of upper back muscle spasms that you should be aware of. The following causes of upper back spasms are things you should be on the lookout for.

    Use Back Support To Limit Stress On Your Back

    When resting in bed, you may find that the most comfortable position is on your back with pillows placed under your knees and a rolled towel or small pillow placed in the small of your back. Also, when sitting in a chair use a back support cushion to maintain a better posture. This helps to support the natural curvature of your back, and takes pressure off the lower back by providing additional support to the area.

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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.

    What To Do When You Experience A Lower Back Spasm

    What To Do About Back Spasms?

    Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in their lives. And lower back pain is very common. In fact, about 8 out of 10 of us will have lower back pain in our lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. But what are back spasms, what causes them, and what can you do when you experience one?

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    The Muscles Can Spasm In Response To An Underlying Anatomical Problem

  • Herniated disc
  • When these or other underlying anatomical problems are present in the spine, muscle spasms are likely to keep recurring due to ongoing inflammation or instability. It is important to seek medical attention to treat the underlying cause of your symptoms, rather than just treating the symptoms.

    How To Prevent Future Back Spasms

    The best way to reduce your risk of another painful episode is to stay active, says Dr. Hanscom. He recommends both aerobic exercise and strength training. The stronger your core muscles are, the less likely they are to spasm, he explains.

    Need suggestions? Dr. Hanscom recommends yoga and tai chi, both of which are good for back pain. At home, you can also do knee-to-chest stretches, planks, hip bridges and bird dogs.

    And if you lift anything heavy, do it properly: Keep your knees bent and tighten your abdominal muscles, rather than reaching your arms out.

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    Additional sources

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    Dealing With Back Spasms


    Back pain is one of the most common health conditions in the United States. In fact, about 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point during their lives. Its no surprise that there are several different types of back spasms and each one can have a variety of causes. Those experiencing severe or chronic back pain and back spasms should consult with a doctor to determine if an underlying medical condition is causing it or not.

    Muscle spasms or cramps can happen anywhere in the body, and it’s relatively common amongst many individualsand back spasms are one of the most painful, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

    At least one-third of the population experiences muscle spasms or cramps in their lifetime. This often happens when your muscles are overused, and back spasms are no exception to this rule.

    Spasms can occur anywhere in the body, including a place like your back where you may be sitting for hours at work or driving for long periods of time. When these muscles become fatigued, they will begin to contract involuntarily and cause intense pain that lasts from seconds to minutes depending on how severe it is.

    How Is Lumbar Strain Diagnosed

    Pin on back pain causes

    In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnosing low back pain may include the following. However, specialized tests aren’t often required.

    • X-ray. A diagnostic test that produces images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
    • CT scan. This is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. It shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
    • MRI. This test uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures in the body.
    • Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into your blood to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity in the bone.
    • Electromyogram . A test to evaluate nerve and muscle function.

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    Iii Apply A Cold Pack

    For the first 48-72 hours, carefully apply a cold pack to the area to reduce any inflammation present. Protect the skin from any risk of ice burn with a thin towel before applying the pack. Apply for 20 minutes and use every 1-2 hours as needed.

    Caution:Not everyone benefits from a cold pack. If you find applying cold only numbs your pain while you are still stiff, then either reduce the length of time you apply it, or avoid cold treatment. Some people are more likely to feel even stiffer with cold treatment. The goal is to relax the muscle, not shock it.

    I recommend that you go with what works for you. Personally, I prefer heat instead, but everyone has their own preferences.

    Treating Back Spasms With Chiropractic Care

    During your initial visit, your chiropractor will determine the cause of your muscle spasm. If it is caused by strain or injury, they might perform spinal adjustments or soft tissue therapy to ease the pain and discomfort.

    However, if the chiropractor finds an issue with a spinal disc, then you may require different treatment or further imaging. The requisite rehabilitation may involve different exercises and stretches. In some instances, you may also be referred back to your medical doctor for additional care.

    If youre worried about the treatment hurting, dont worry chiropractic care is gentle and is always a discussion between you and the treating practitioner.

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    Stay Active With Walking Or Riding A Back Bike

    If back spasms are the result of a recent injury then it is important to stay as active as possible. This will help with healing and decrease back pain in the long term.

    Walking and riding a bike helps the joints in the back open up and be more mobile. This in return helps the muscle in the back relax quicker.

    Walking and riding a bike are some of the best things that you can do with back spasms.

    What Can Cause A Back Spasm

    Back spasms pain relief

    There are a number of potential causes of lower back spasms, including the below.

    • Overuse: If youve overused your lower back muscles, especially if you havent used it extensively for a while, it can trigger a muscle spasm.
    • Poor posture: Particularly when driving in a car, sitting at a desk, or hunched over a computer, poor posture can strain your back muscles, leading to developing a lower back spasm. If you alter your posture to deal with a muscle spasm, you can potentially worsen your discomfort. People who have certain conditions, like spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, or arthritis, may also adjust their posture to compensate for the symptoms of their conditions, leading to muscle spasms.
    • Limited exercise: If you have a sedentary lifestyle and are not getting enough exercise, your back muscles can weaken. As your lower back muscles compensate for this weakness, you can experience muscle spasms. Here is a guide for at-home exercises.
    • Damaged nerves: Nerve damage resulting from injury or diabetes, can signal lower back spasm.
    • Anxiety and stress: If you unconsciously tense your muscles when undergoing stress or anxiety, it can trigger a muscle spasm.
    • Scoliosis: This condition involves a twisting of the spine, which can worsen lower back spasms.

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    How Do I Take Care Of Myself

    You and your healthcare provider should come up with a treatment plan together. Have a prevention plan and a plan for what to do when a muscle spasm hits. Do the following every day:

    • Exercise . If you get nocturnal leg cramps, do some walking before you go to sleep.
    • Stretch. Stretch frequently including before and after you exercise and before you go to sleep.
    • Purchase sturdy shoes.
    • Drink plenty of water each day. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol.
    • Take all prescribed vitamins and medications such as muscle relaxants.
    • Prepare your bed space by keeping a heating pad and massage roller nearby.

    Beating Spasms And Back Pain

  • Health & Wellness
  • Beating Spasms and Back Pain
  • There are more days lost in the workforce with back pain than any other ailment, including the flu.

    Back pain can be caused by the simplest movement like tying your shoelace or even sneezing. When the muscles in your back go into spasm, you often cannot move for a few minutes. Then we are inclined to lie down or go to bed but this can make things worse.

    You should stay mobile, even if you move slowly, and do gentle stretches, otherwise the muscles, especially in the lower back, de-condition quickly the opposite of what you want.

    Stretch your hamstrings hips and glutes very gently, holding each movement for 15 seconds, doing each movement three times dont over-stretch. When you feel pain you should stop.

    Lower back pain can lock all the muscles along the lower back in parallel with the hip bone. Most people with the problem are normally very tight in the hamstrings and inflexible in the hip area.

    When back pain occurs you often hear people complain that they have a slipped disc. Generally, this not the case and the so-called slipped disc is associated with sciatica, which is a severe pain shooting down your hip to your knee and even to your toe.


    We successfully treat many people with back problems which could have been bothering them for years and after six weeks of corrective exercises there is a huge improvement and often avoid surgical input.

    What aggravates back pain?

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    A Back Spasm Is A Muscle Cramp In Your Back It Could Be Just A Strained Back Muscle Or It Could Be Part Of A More Serious Back Problem Find Out What To Do And When To Call The Doctor

    You’ll know when back spasms hit you the pain can be sudden and even intense.

    Almost everyone gets back pain at some point. People may say they have a backache or back spasm, or that they threw their back out. These are all descriptions of acute low back pain, back pain that starts suddenly. A muscle spasm is another word for a muscle cramp. It happens when a muscle contracts and cant relax.

    Muscle spasms are common in the back, says Dr. Dominic King, an orthopedic physician at the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Center. When you get a muscle spasm in your leg, you call it a charley horse. It may be caused by muscle fatigue or dehydration. Muscle spasms in your back can have more causes. Your back muscles are big muscles that keep you up all day, so they can get stressed and fatigued, but they can also be affected by changes in your spine, explains Dr. King.

    What Causes Muscle Spasm

    Back Spasms

    Spasms of the back muscles are common and are most often due to overuse and muscle fatigue, and may also be related to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. Back spasms typically occur after a strain or injury to the soft tissues of the abdomen, hips, pelvis and spine, which include the muscles, tendons, fascia or ligaments. Injury may present itself suddenly as the muscles are trying to protect themselves or other sensitive tissues from movements that could stress or further injure, but not always do the symptoms present right away.

    Sometimes back muscle spasms are related to an underlying anatomical problem such as facet joint osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis or a disc injury. In the case of an anatomical problem, the muscle instinctively reacts to the pain and inflammation by going into a spasm to limit movement, guard, or protect the area.

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    What Are The Symptoms

    As stated above, most back muscles spasms come on instantly and without warning. One minute youre fine and the next youre writhing in pain.

    However, some have a slower onset and start with a dull ache which leads to a pain that is fierce and in full force, but this is not as common.

    In addition, back spasms generally subside rather quickly, meaning that they go away almost as suddenly as they came. You will feel a tightening of the upper or lower back area . You may even have the urge to stretch the muscle in an attempt to get it to release.

    Often, spasms are precipitated by certain activities. Which leads us to the next section


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