Many individuals all over the world experience back pain at some point in their lives. A back spasm basically involves involuntary contraction or tensing of the muscles in the lower back. This condition can range from infrequent and minor discomfort to severe pain that makes it hard for the individual to move. The back spasms can be managed effectively without requiring surgery. If the pain is linked to nerve issues in the spine, it requires some form of intervention.
Causes of back spasms
Back spasms can occur due to trauma to the tendons, muscles and ligaments in the back or can be linked to serious medical issues. Lifting of heavy objects is the common cause of back spasms. It is important to note that any activity that adds excess strain on the muscles and ligaments in the lower back can lead to injury. Certain sports such as golf and football can lead to back spasms since they demand the back to turn abruptly and repetitively.
The back muscles are at risk if the individual has weak abdominal muscles since they also help support the back. Stiff or weak back muscles can be injured easily than muscles that are stronger and flexible.
Back spasms can also occur if the individual has arthritis or a ruptured disk in the spine. Remember that arthritis in the lower back adds pressure on the spinal cord, thus causing pain in the back and legs. As for a ruptured disk in the vertebrae, it also adds pressure on a nerve, thus resulting to pain.
Diagnosing back spasms
In most cases, the doctor will request an X-ray to check for indications of arthritis or a fracture. CT scan or MRI might also be carried out for a better view of the muscles and other soft issues.
It is important that the individual will inform the doctor if he/she starts to experience spasms after a sports injury or physical activity. This can help determine if the back spasms were caused by muscle injury.
Treatment of lower back spasms
In case the back spasms occur after an injury or activity that stressed the muscles, try to alternate the application of cold and heat on the back. The application of ice will reduce the inflammation while heat will promote blood flow. If you want to learn more on how to effectively utilize cold therapy, enroll in a first aid course. (Read here for more information about the courses).
Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as well as muscle relaxants can help relieve the symptoms while the affected muscles heal. In some cases, cortisone injections can also help. Just remember though that there are some potential side effects in some medications, thus always ask the doctor regarding the benefits and risk of these injections.
Since the back works hard on a daily basis, it is important that you know how to take care of it and reduce the risk for developing back spasms. If possible, losing a few pounds if overweight can help reduce the stress on the spine and joints.
Always stand straight and wear low-heeled shoes for stability and strength in the lower back. Regular physical activity such as strengthening exercises for the back and abdomen can greatly help.