3 Ways to Treat Back Muscle Spasms

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3 Ways to Treat Back Muscle Spasms
3 Ways to Treat Back Muscle Spasms

Any kind of back pain is too uncomfortable, let alone involuntary spasms, which bring the person down with indescribable pain. Unfortunately, anyone who has had a back spasm once is more likely to have one in the future. This problem is often caused by excess tension that inflames the muscle, sensitizing the nerves in the area and causing involuntary contractions. People with back spasms only think about relieving the pain, but when it goes away, you need to take certain steps to treat the cause and prevent it from happening again.


Method 1 of 3: Relieving Pain

Treat a Back Spasm Step 1

Step 1. Apply ice for 20 minutes

Wrap an ice pack in a soft towel, lie on your back and place the ice pack under your body at the site of the spasm. Relax in this position for about 20 minutes, breathing deeply.

  • If you like, lie down on an angled chair to ease the pressure on your back. When the spasm is in the lower back, raising the legs can provide more relief.
  • Repeat the procedure as needed every two hours for the next 48 to 72 hours. Do not exceed 20 minutes per session and do not take a nap on an ice pack, as prolonged exposure can cause frostbite or nerve damage.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 2

Step 2. Take a pain reliever

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce pain and inflammation. The most common options are ibuprofen (such as Advil) and naproxen sodium (Flanax).

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) also improves pain, but it does not have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • You can try a muscle relaxant like Mioflex or Lisador. Use the lowest possible dose, as medications like this make you sleepy.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 3

Step 3. Take a light walk

The first instinct after a back spasm is to want to lie down, but a short walk helps the blood circulate and can speed recovery. Start with short hourly walks right after the spasm.

  • The problem can even get worse if you lie down for a long time. Inactivity tightens the muscles, which can cause more pain or even another spasm.
  • Walking and other low intensity aerobic activities are great options during the first 2 weeks of treatment. Start slowly and gradually increase the duration of the exercise.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 4

Step 4. Apply a warm, wet compress after 72 hours

After three days, the swelling and initial inflammation subside. At this point, you can start using heat to increase blood flow and loosen your muscles. Use a cooler or soak in a warm bathtub.

It is preferable to use heat combined with humidity so as not to cause dehydration. It is very important to stay hydrated for the treatment and prevention of muscle spasms

Treat a Back Spasm Step 5

Step 5. Go to the doctor for a steroid injection

Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that help cut inflammation near the nerves. The action is similar to that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but the effect lasts for a few months and not just a few hours.

Corticosteroid injection only serves to relieve the pain related to the spasm. It doesn't address the underlying cause

Method 2 of 3: Resolving the Cause of the Problem

Treat a Back Spasm Step 6

Step 1. Find out what caused the spasm

This type of problem can happen after a prolonged period of inactivity followed by sudden movement. Back spasms can also be the result of overuse and overload of the back muscles, or an injury to the back.

  • There are several different treatments. Understanding the cause helps to choose the best way to deal with the issue.
  • If the spasm was caused by sudden movement after a period of inactivity, there is no underlying physical problem that needs to be addressed. In this case, just do the cold and warm compresses, stay active and stretch calmly.
  • It's a good idea to discuss the incident with a doctor. He can better identify what triggered the spasm. Another option is to speak with a personal trainer or physical therapist.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 7

Step 2. Try massage to reduce stress and relieve tension

Massage by a competent professional improves circulation and helps to relax the muscles. This may be the solution if the spasm was caused by stress in general.

The difference can be felt after a single session. However, to get lasting results from this therapy, you need several sessions over a couple of months

Treat a Back Spasm Step 8

Step 3. Go to a general practitioner to get an official diagnosis

If home treatment does not solve the problem and muscle spasms continue to appear in the same place, the doctor may order some tests to identify the cause.

  • Describe how you feel and explain what you did at home to treat the pain.
  • Your doctor may order x-rays, a CT scan or an MRI to assess your back's condition.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 9

Step 4. Get physical therapy for muscle injuries

If you have torn or injured a muscle, physical therapy is the right approach to rehabilitation. The treatment also helps correct muscle imbalances that can overwork a muscle, causing the dreaded spasms.

The physiotherapist can also formulate a personalized exercise routine to address the specific problems that affect you

Treat a Back Spasm Step 10

Step 5. Go to a chiropractor if the problem is in the spine

One option for treating a misaligned spine or an injury such as a herniated disc is to have a chiropractic session.

The chiropractor uses manual adjustments to realign the spine. In addition, the practitioner can also employ therapeutic exercises, massages and other treatments to stimulate the muscles and nerves

Treat a Back Spasm Step 11

Step 6. Rule out neurological problems

Muscle spasms can be caused by serious neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. If you suffer from this frequently and without an identifiable cause, share your concerns with a doctor.

  • The doctor should discuss any other possible symptoms and refer you to a neurologist for further tests if necessary.
  • Get medical attention if you experience incontinence (or difficulty holding urine). This is a sign of more serious problems.

Method 3 of 3: Preventing Future Spasms

Treat a Back Spasm Step 12

Step 1. Drink water to stay hydrated

Cramps and muscle spasms can be caused by dehydration. Drinking water is no guarantee that you will never have a back spasm, but it does help loosen up the muscles.

Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they are diuretics and dehydrate the body

Treat a Back Spasm Step 13

Step 2. Stay at a healthy weight

Extra weight on your spine and musculoskeletal system increase your chances of developing muscle spasms. Calculate your BMI or have a physical exam with your doctor.

See a nutritionist if you need to lose weight. Slowly incorporate more exercise into your day as the spasms subside

Treat a Back Spasm Step 14

Step 3. Correct mineral deficiencies in your diet

A diet low in calcium, magnesium, or potassium can increase the frequency of muscle spasms. Even if you have treatment with a physical therapist or chiropractor, the problem may continue if that is the case.

  • Choose natural sources of these minerals before starting to supplement. Dairy products are a great source of calcium, while bananas and potatoes are rich in potassium.
  • If you have a mineral deficiency, decrease or cut back on coffee and sugar as they impair the body's absorption of minerals.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 15

Step 4. Walk to get active

Physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to avoid back spasms. Walking is a low-impact activity and does not strain your back. Start with short trips and increase a little every day until walking for 20 minutes.

  • Cycling and swimming are other examples of low-impact activities that are good for your back.
  • If you have access to a gym, another option is to take a 15-20 minute elliptical or stair simulator.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 16

Step 5. Add stretches to your routine

Practicing yoga or Pilates can help improve your back's flexibility and range of motion. Try some basic stretches before and after activities to loosen your back muscles.

  • Just continue stretching to a comfortable point. Stop immediately when you feel pain or discomfort so as not to cause further damage to the muscles.
  • Careful stretching is also helpful in decreasing pain right after a back spasm.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 17

Step 6. Create support for your lower back as you sit

Place a pillow between your lower back and the seat to sit properly. Do this if you are going to work or drive for long periods of time. Get up at least once an hour to walk. Avoid sitting too long.

  • Avoid sitting in bad posture.
  • Change position occasionally while sitting.
Treat a Back Spasm Step 18

Step 7. Start strength training to strengthen your core muscles

The core muscles are responsible for spinal stability and alignment, keeping your back in the right posture. Strengthening the core can help prevent spasms.

  • The board is a basic region strengthening exercise that can be done without any equipment. Lie on your stomach, resting your elbows and hands on the floor. Raise your body leaving your elbows, hands and toes in contact with the floor and stay in this position for 20 seconds initially to activate the core.
  • Do the board several times a day, gradually increasing the time spent in position.
  • Don't forget to breathe deeply and regularly when performing the exercise. Many people have a tendency to hold their breath on the board.


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