Many people will know this back pain scenario all too well — one instance they are bending over or lifting a heavy object; the next minute they are immobile and unable to move. Moments like these can strike without warning. In fact, approximately eight out of 10 adults will experience this a some point during their lives from muscle spasms and other related causes.
Generally, the cause of back pain and muscle spasms can be credited to overuse, sport injuries, or accidents. However, the root problem that causes muscle spasms is an injury to a structure within the lower spine area. One thing is clear — once someone has muscle spasms for the first time, chances are they may happen again.
Muscle Spasms: What Are They?
The involuntary, random contractions of the muscle in our bodies are called muscle spasms. Even though “back attacks” may happen at random times, the circumstances that trigger the incident is typically preceded by a following of small strains and injuries to the structure of the spine. Once injured, inflammation occurs. This results in the nerves being activated, causing the muscles to contract and spasm.
Conditions like degenerative disc disease or herniated discs may be the cause of acute back pain. The discs in our spines may herniate or bulge, compressing a nearby spinal nerve that can cause irritation and inflammation. The body responds by tightening the surrounding area, and as a result, painful muscle spasms occur.
Muscle spasms can also occur indirectly due to lack of exercise. When the body is not active, muscles can become tight and weak. Because of this, any movement outside of the norm can result in a muscle spasm and back pain. For those who are experiencing lower back pain, you can check out our tips and tricks to help alleviate the discomfort here.
Treatment and Prevention of Back Spasms
- For the first 48 to 72 hours, apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes. Reapply every two hours.
After 72 hours, apply moist heat. A heating pad, warm wet towel, or warm bath is ideal.
- Stretching as a part of your daily routine will help greatly. Muscle fibers benefit from gentle stretching.
- Get active! For those who do not engage in physical activity, now is the best time to do it. Introducing exercise to the muscles will prevent the “shock” they get after being active after a period of inactivity.
- An important part of exercise is also lifting weights and strength training. This helps build the muscles to reduce muscular imbalances and strengthen out the back.
If you are looking for a back pain specialist, contact Dr. Ben Evans today! His team and medical staff are pain management professionals, and can help with the treatment and steps to take to prevent future issues.