Back pain sometimes strikes without warning. One minute you’re bending or lifting something heavy; the next minute you’re unable to move. Sudden onset of muscle spasm from the back is common. Roughly 8 out of 10 adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Generally, the origin of back pain and muscle spasm can be credited to overuse, an accident or a sports injury. But more often than not, the origin of muscle spasm is the effect of damage to a structure within the lumbar spine.
One matter is clear: if you have had one or more episodes of muscular strain in the back, chances are it’ll happen again. The muscles in the back function together. Without all the muscles of the back working together, no lateral and extension motion of the spine would be impossible. Stability is also added by the muscles of the back in order to keep the spine erect and maintain equilibrium. When the muscles are in spasm due to a spinal health issue, that balance can be compromised.
What are Muscle Spasms?
Muscle spams are involuntary contractions of a muscle. Although “back attacks” seem to happen out of nowhere, the motion that triggers the episode is generally preceded by a collection of health issues to the structures of the spine that develops gradually, over time. Inflammation sets in once injured. This, in turn, sensitizes the nerves, causing the muscle/s to contract and spasm.
Disc Disorders and Muscle Spasms
Conditions, such as degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc, may cause an acute episode of low back pain. A disc bulge or disc herniation may also compress a spinal nerve root causing irritation and inflammation. The body tries to immobilize the affected area by tightening the musculature to stop pain and as a result, debilitating muscle spasms occur.
Muscles can get too tight due to insufficient exercise, a lot of exercise, structural imbalances, dehydration and electrolyte loss, or any mix thereof. By comparison, some muscle bands are weak. When muscle imbalances become persistent, aberrant forces are transmitted into the spine. Consequently, an accident can be triggered by one movement out of the norm to a joint, ligament, or disk resulting in spasm and back pain. As these structures are already “primed,” the event that activates the spasm is nothing more than an effect of an underlying health issue. Muscle spams in the back are frequently painful. Here are several remedies which can help you get moving.
Remedies for Back Spasms
- Initial 48 to 72 hours: Apply ice for 20 minutes every 2 hours while lying on your back. Constantly use an ice pack, never apply ice directly to skin.
- After 72 hours: Apply moist warmth. A heating pad is ideal. You might find relief by soaking in a bathtub of warm water.
- Whereas ice reduces redness, warmth relaxes muscles and increases blood flow to the area and nerves that are irritated.
- By elevating your legs, pressure is taken off the spine and may help relieve pain.
Aspirin or ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Consult with your doctor or healthcare provider regarding the dosing and drug regimen most acceptable for your problem. With reduced back muscle spasms, combination remedies (ie, remainder, ice/heat and drugs) generally yield much better outcomes than one therapy alone.
Back Spasm Prevention
When the back spasm episode has passed, and you’ve allowed enough time for the inflammation to subside, begin focusing on what you can do to keep it from happening again.
- Start stretching: Incorporate stretching exercises in your daily routine. Muscle fibers gain from stretching and so will you. Consider taking yoga courses or Pilates; always stretch before exercise.
- Get in shape: Now’s the time to get started in case you do not take part in routine physical activity. Exercise confers advantages too important to ignore and too numerous to mention. Join a fitness center. Start playing a sport. The key to any exercise routine is that it be done consistently.
- Strength training: A significant part of any exercise regimen, strength training not only builds muscle, it can reduce imbalances. Remember: muscles operate with one another, so be sure to balance your strengthening regularly.
Make preventing another incident of muscular spasms your priority. It’s never too late to start increasing your strength, flexibility and mobility. Choose activities that you enjoy and commit to performing them. In addition, several healthcare professionals can help decrease muscles spasms. Chiropractic care is a well-known alternative treatment option which utilizes a variety of treatment methods to help ease muscle spasms caused by spinal health issues.
How a Chiropractor Can Help
Muscle spasms both disrupt your life and can be painful. There are several ways in which a chiropractor can help you find relief for your muscle spasms. Here’s how chiropractic care can help to decrease the severity and frequency of your muscle spasms.
Chiropractic care, can go a long way toward assisting you to avoid tightness in your muscles that result in constantly painful symptoms, when you get regular spinal adjustments and manual manipulations. Chiropractic treatment includes spinal adjustments and manual manipulations which help align your body to take pressure off of soft tissues within the body and nerves, reducing the nerve signals your brain might be receiving that cause an involuntary contraction. Manual manipulations and spinal adjustments also allows your spine and joints to restore normal motion, which in turn contributes to a decrease in muscle spasms and pain.
Your chiropractor may also utilize massage treatment to help relax the muscles in your body which are prone to spasm. These kinds of treatments help to decrease fluid, reduce scar tissue and supply relief. Massage may also help to reduce any inflammation that communicates with the cramps and spasms your own muscles. Your chiropractor can also provide nutritional advice to help put an end to chronic spasms. If you are dehydrated you could have an electrolyte imbalance which may be causing your cramping and muscle spasms. Making certain modifications to your diet and drinking more water can help restore balance and decrease the number or spasms you’re experiencing as well.
Moreover, the chiropractor may use associated therapies for the treatment of muscle spasms. This can include hot and cold treatments, ultrasound and electric stimulation of the muscle. These therapies help greatly to increase flow and also prevent swelling or scarring of the muscle. Associated treatments are a means for prevention of further damage and injury recurrences as well as to reduce pain. What’s more, a doctor of chiropractic may suggest a series of appropriate stretches and exercises to speed up the recovery process. Certainly, the ultimate objective is to alleviate the muscle spasms.
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Insight
Muscle spasms are common symptoms caused by a variety of injuries and/or aggravated conditions which can result in back pain. Regardless of the cause of your back pain, muscle spasms can often become a constant and debilitating health issue that can affect your overall quality of life. Chiropractic care is a common treatment option utilized to help ease soft tissue injuries caused by accident and/or sports injuries. Through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, a chiropractor can restore the original alignment of the spine, helping to reduce stress and tension build up in the soft tissues surrounding the spine, ultimately improving muscle spams.
Remember, it’s not normal to experience muscle spasms. If you do, then it is likely you have an underlying problem that has to be diagnosed and treated. You don’t have to suffer from the pain and discomfort of muscle spasms, your chiropractor can be your partner. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Back Pain
According to statistics, approximately 80% of people will experience symptoms of back pain at least once throughout their lifetimes. Back pain is a common complaint which can result due to a variety of injuries and/or conditions. Often times, the natural degeneration of the spine with age can cause back pain. Herniated discs occur when the soft, gel-like center of an intervertebral disc pushes through a tear in its surrounding, outer ring of cartilage, compressing and irritating the nerve roots. Disc herniations most commonly occur along the lower back, or lumbar spine, but they may also occur along the cervical spine, or neck. The impingement of the nerves found in the low back due to injury and/or an aggravated condition can lead to symptoms of sciatica.