When To See A Healthcare Provider
Most episodes of low back spasms will go away on their own, but sometimes your condition may require that you visit your healthcare provider for proper treatment. Symptoms that indicate you should visit a medical professional right away for your back spasms may include:
- Spasms that came on after significant trauma
- Back spasms that are accompanied by tingling, numbness, or weakness in one or both of your legs
- Spasms accompanied by difficulty initiating urination or difficulty holding in a bowel movement
- Low back spasms that prevent you from sitting or standing with an upright posture
- Spasms that come on with fever or within a few weeks of unexplained weight loss
- Spasms that do not improve with a week or two of rest
Naturally, if you have any symptom that causes you to worry that something serious is going on, call your healthcare provider. There is no harm in having a discussion about your spasms with your healthcare provider. They can then determine if you need to be seen and can offer guidance on how to best treat your condition.
Lying On Your Side While Crossing Your Arms As You Hunch Forward Can Help
Gradually increase the extension slight fractions of an inch and hold.
Extending take several minutes to accomplish. If possible, have someone assist you in with the extension. Maintain very slow, controlled inward and outward breaths to become calm and to relax, even though you are uncomfortable.
Note: You are only trying to lengthen the muscle. Dont overstretch.
Only allow very slight increments. By increasing the length of the muscle, you will relieve that muscle. Youll also reduce the injury to the area that the muscle is trying to protect.
Alternate periods of stretching with resting pauses. Dont allow the muscle to contract during your rest phase as it may start again.
Reducing the intensity of the contraction can take anywhere from several minutes to hours if necessary. The degree of injury is a major factor. Each time that you attempt to relax and lengthen the muscle, it will try to respond by tightening up. Holding your position will help you avoid this.
If you have taken a very long time to use this tip for your pain, then please consider medical help initially. My site is loaded with lots of help for you also but you should also get your doctors support.
Signs Your Back Pain Might Be An Emergency
In our 20s and 30s, normal back pain often can be attributed to factors of daily life, such as sitting too long, picking up children, or overdoing it while exercising.
In our 40s and older, work injuries and the beginnings of arthritis and degenerative conditions are more common.
Back pain is so common, in fact, that many patients shrug off symptoms that might indicate a medical emergency.
Approximately 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lives, so its important to be able to identify the severity of your symptoms and track how long the pain lasts.
If back pain can be associated with a specific activity, such as lifting or twisting wrong, and the pain goes away within 72 hours after resting and applying ice, its usually nothing to worry about. However, if pain creeps on gradually, appears suddenly, or doesn’t go away, you might have a more serious condition.
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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.
What Can I Do For Low Back Pain At Home
If your lower back pain has just started, the best thing you can do is start a log. Record your symptoms, times, dates and which activities trigger the pain or make it worse or better. Take this information to your family physician if the pain doesnt resolve on its own. It will make diagnosing the cause much easier.
Once you know which motion or position causes your lower back pain, try to avoid it and see if you get better. Icing the painful spot can also help. And so can over-the-counter pain relievers that help reduce inflammation. Just remember that pain killers treat only the symptom pain and not its cause.
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How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
What Sparks Back Pain
Every eight in 10 people deal with back pain at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine . The types of back pain people can experience vary between dull aches and sharp pains, and it can either come and go or become chronic, lasting longer than three months.
Several conditions are linked to back pain, including ligament or muscle strains, bulging or ruptured discs, osteoporosis and arthritis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Factors that put you at risk of developing back pain include:
- Being older.
- Lifting heavy objects incorrectly.
And sleep posture is another factor, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Arthritis often affects the bones and joints in the lower back and can cause the lining of the joints to become irregular, leading to changes in the lubricated surfaces that allow those joints to move, says Griffin R. Baum, MD, a spine surgeon and assistant professor of neurology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
When lying flat, arthritis can often be a key cause of back pain, especially due to the facet joints in the back, says David F. Drake, MD, the medical director of the Interventional Pain Clinic at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia.
“In these cases, if the back is straighter or even hyperextended, the pain is often worse. If you’re laying completely flat on your stomach or back, that would cause pain in those facet joints,” Dr. Drake says.
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Whenyour Back Pain Could Be A More Serious Medical Problem
There are a few ways to tellthe difference between spinal stenosis and something more serious:
- Pain that gets worse when going uphill is more common with peripheral arterial disease, a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels leading to the your limbs.
- Arterial disease patients dont get relief from the grocery cart position.
- If your symptoms are worse at night but better with exercise, neuropathy may be to blame.
- In younger people, morning stiffness that lasts longer than 30 minutes and gets worse with stillness may be a sign of inflammatory arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis.
- Other unexplained symptoms such as weight loss and fatigue may be signs of a cancerous growth very rare, but absolutely worth looking into.
Serious issues such asmalignancies or abdominal aortic aneurysms rarely present with spine symptoms,Dr. Khalaf says, but sometimes they do. Theyre serious enough that rulingthem out is important.
What Causes Lumbar Strain
Injury can damage the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury.
Certain risk factors can increase the risk for this injury. The risk factors are:
- Severe lower back curvature
- Weak back or belly muscles
- Tight hamstrings
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Lower Back Pain During Your Period: Causes Diagnosis And Treatment
Many people experience bloating, headaches, and abdominal pain during their period. Another common symptom that people experience during their period is lower back pain. This pain often occurs as part of premenstrual syndrome . Less commonly, it can occur as a result of diseases such as endometriosis.
Back pain caused by your period may range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain that interferes with daily activities. Back pain associated with your period can start a few days before it starts and get better after your period is over. This type of back pain is typically muscular and caused by hormonal changes. Lets discuss how to manage lower back pain before, during, and after your period.
Low Back Pain Symptoms And Signs
Pain in the lumbosacral area is the primary symptom of low back pain.
- The pain may radiate down the front, side, or back of your leg, or it may be confined to the low back.
- The pain may become worse with activity.
- Occasionally, the pain may be worse at night or with prolonged sitting such as on a long car trip.
- You may have numbness or weakness in the part of the leg that receives its nerve supply from a compressed nerve.
- This can cause an inability to plantar flex the foot. This means you would be unable to stand on your toes or bring your foot downward. This occurs when the first sacral nerve is compressed or injured.
- Another example would be the inability to raise your big toe upward. This results when the fifth lumbar nerve is compromised.
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Lack Of Rib Cage Mobility
When it comes to flexibility and mobility, we may not consider the rib cage as being an important region of our body that needs free range of motion. However, according to Light, If the rib cage cannot expand enough during breathing, our upper backs and neck will become engaged and try to open up the rib cage. This is usually a futile effort and, at best, you will have tension and cramps . In order to avoid this, Light suggests stretching out your lats and doing more single leg and single arm exercises.
Not Getting Enough Exercise
20 percent of U.S. adults are spending enough time exercising.
It is common for people to pass much of the day sitting down or hunched over a computer screen. Over time, this can weaken the muscles in the back and other areas of the body. The lower back may attempt to compensate for this weakness, which can cause painful muscle spasms.
Sitting for long periods can also cause muscle spasms because of muscle weakness and inflammation.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Back Spasms
A back spasm may feel mild like a dull ache or twitch, or it can get so sharp and painful that its debilitating.
If you experience any of the following symptoms in addition to back spasms, you should see your healthcare provider right away:
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Muscle weakness in arms or legs.
- Odd sensations, numbness or weakness on one side of your body.
- Loss of balance and coordination.
- Loss of a sense of feeling in a limb/limbs.
Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem
The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of A Serious Problem
Very rarely back pain or pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention:
- difficulty controlling or passing urine
- loss of control of your bowels
- numbness around your back passage or your genitals
- serious weakness in your legs so you find standing really difficult
- severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.
The above symptoms could potentially be linked to a rare but serious condition that needs urgent medical attention.
Diagnosis Of Lower Abdominal Cramping
Sometimes the doctor can diagnose what causes cramping at lower abdomen from a patient’s medical history and physical examination. However, he may also need to do some laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis or to rule out other possible conditions. These diagnostic tests may include:
- Blood tests
- CT scan of the abdomen
- Magnetic resonance imaging
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Back Pain And Abdominal Bloating
A number of possible reasons exist for the co-occurrence of spinal pain and abdominal bloating. Bloating can occur for a number of reasons, ranging from very benign causes like overeating or eating fatty foods to more serious concerns like autoimmune disorders and cancer.
As far as foods go, there are quite a few different types of food that cause bloating, which can trigger pain in stomach and back. Foods rich in oligosaccharides can cause abdominal bloating, as can strawberries, apricots, prunes, Brussel sprouts, dairy products, sweeteners, and whole grains. When these foods cause fiber to get backed up in the digestive system, bloating and constipation can occur, making it crucial that you drink plenty of liquids to keep the fiber moving.
Kidney Stones Or Kidney Infection
The kidneys rest on either side of the mid-back. Experiencing pain in this area, especially if it is just on one side, may signal either a kidney stone or a kidney infection. The person may also experience nausea, and they may have pain that radiates to the groin.
Many kidney stones pass on their own, but it is important to seek medical care to assess them. A doctor can also offer pain medication.
Kidney infections are very serious and can spread to other areas of the body. A person with a kidney infection may also:
- develop a fever
In most cases, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics.
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Or You Could Be Dying What Are The Odds That Back Pain Is Something Scary
Of course there are cases of low back pain that have alarming causes, but its reassuringly rare. Once in a while back pain is a warning sign of cancer, autoimmune disease, infection, or a handful of other scary culprits.7 Over the age of 55, about one in twenty cases turns out to be a fracture, and one in a hundred is more ominous.8 The further you are from 55, the better your odds.
But how can you tell? It can be tricky. This is a concise, readable guide to symptoms that need better-safe-than-sorry investigation with your doctor. In other words, this article explains the difference between dangerous and just painful as clearly as possible. Tables, checklists, and examples ahead.
Low Back Pain Exams And Tests
- Because many different conditions may cause back pain, a thorough medical history will be performed as part of the examination. Some of the questions you are asked may not seem pertinent to you but are very important to your doctor in determining the source of your pain.
- Your doctor will first ask you many questions regarding the onset of the pain. He or she will want to know what makes the pain better or worse. The doctor will ask you questions referring to the red flag symptoms. He or she will ask if you have had the pain before. Your doctor will ask about recent illnesses and associated symptoms such as coughs, fevers, urinary difficulties, or stomach illnesses. In females, the doctor will want to know about vaginal bleeding, cramping, or discharge. Pain from the pelvis, in these cases, is frequently felt in the back.
- Electromyogram or EMG is a test that involves the placement of very small needles into the muscles. Electrical activity is monitored. Its use is usually reserved for more chronic pain and to predict the level of nerve root damage. The test is also able to help the doctor distinguish between nerve root disease and muscle disease.
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