One of the worst back pains in the world is lower back muscle spasms. They can be so painful that they may have you headed for the emergency room. If you ever experience lower back muscle spasms, it is important to listen to your body. Your back may be telling you not to do that “stressful” activity again, or it’s a red alarm telling you there’s a more serious issue in your lower spine. Even if there are methods for relieving lower back pain, muscle spasms can become more serious the longer it persists.
What Are Muscle Spasms?
The spine is a collection of bony rings called vertebrae that provide support for the body and protection for the spinal cord. When the muscle attached to the vertebrae is sprained or strained, it causes an involuntary cramping or tightening, leading to a feeling of a back “knot”. Usually, the most common causes of these muscle spasms can come from injury, inflammation, and even dehydration.
Muscles in the lower back never rest; when you are sitting, lying down, standing, or even sleeping, the muscles are constantly working. This means that when muscle spasms are to occur, it can be a possibility that they may take longer to heal and repair. Since they are always at work, lower back muscle spasms can be very painful and a great nuisance for anyone.
The Many Causes of Lower Back Muscle Spasms
Heavy lifting is a common cause of lower back muscle spasms. In actuality, any activity that puts excessive strain on muscles and ligaments in the lower region can cause an injury. Sports like golf, soccer, and football can develop these back spasms because they are very high in demand for extensive lower back movements.
Arthritis in the spine can also lead to the development of muscle spasms. This puts pressure on the spinal cord, causing pain the lower back and legs. When this happens, a vertebrae disc may rupture, pressuring a nerve that results in back pain.
Another reason for muscle spasms in the lower back is weak abdominal muscles that can’t help support the back. Weak and stiff muscles can also be injured more easily, as well.
What To Do When Muscle Spasms occur in the Lower Back
When the muscles in the lower back become strained, the area around the muscle can become inflamed. This inflammation can be extremely painful and ongoing if not treated properly. The first thing we advise is to rest up, but for no longer than one to two days. Applying ice or heat pads may help alleviate the pain. This procedure can help reduce inflammation in the area, which slightly reduces the pain. You can use commercial ice/heat packs, or make one for yourself (ice in a ziplock bag; heated pillows).
You can also take over the counter pain medications like Ibuprofen and Advil. These do not target the muscles directly; rather, they have an overall relaxing effect on your body. They are to be used short-term and only by the recommended amount on the bottle.
Just make sure not to incorrectly treat these muscle spasms; otherwise, it can cause a more adverse effect in the future.
When Should You See a Pain Specialist Provider?
If the pain persists, it is advised to seek a doctor specializing in pain management. This could be an internal medicine doctor or pain management specialist (depending on the severity of your pain).
Other factors that contribute to seeking a pain specialist provider are:
- When you have sudden difficulty controlling your bowel or bladder functions.
- Increasing pain when lying down and troubles with sleeping at night.
- Fever, weight loss, or other signs of illness while experiencing muscle spasms.
- Pain and numbness in your arms or legs.
- Muscle weakness in arms and legs that make you feel unstable when you walk.
We recommend that if you do not feel improvement after the first 48-72 hours with the initially provided solutions, contact your healthcare provider. If you are in need of a pain specialist physician and located in the Scottsdale, AZ area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ben Evans today. Our pain specialist team can help address the exact reason for the acute and/or chronic lower back muscle spasm pain, as well as providing a solution for treatment that best fits your needs.