It is very uncomfortable to start experiencing a muscle spasm in your lower back. What you need to do is to get immediate relief. There are useful treatments available, but the thing is, you need to know the reason for the muscle spasm first.
Some people experience muscle spasms that are so painful that they are required to go to the emergency room. If you start experiencing one, do not try to fight it. Listen to what your body is telling you. Have you done any acting before suffering the muscle spasm? There is also a chance that your body is telling you that there is something wrong with your spine and you should address this problem now.
The Different Causes of Muscle Spasm in Lower Back
These are the possible reasons for experiencing muscle spasm:
- The muscles are trying to stop themselves from getting strained
You might get a muscle spasm after you strain or injure your soft tissues that are located near the spine. The soft tissues are composed of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If this is the cause of your muscle spasm, you can let your doctor know about it so that proper treatment will be recommended to you. By pinpointing the main cause of the pain, the pain will go away after a week or so.
- You are experiencing muscle strain or ligament sprain
Do you know the difference between a strain and a sprain? A strain occurs when the muscle is stretched out too much and the muscle itself becomes damaged. A sprain, on the other hand, occurs when the ligaments become too stretched and the ligaments become torn. A muscle strain or a ligament sprain will feel the same. They can both cause a muscle spasm.
- There is something wrong with your current anatomy
Muscle spasms usually improve in about 1-2 weeks. If it has not improved and you are experiencing pain on the same spot, this indicates that you have an underlying anatomical problem. Some of the possible problems you may have are the following:
- Spinal Stenosis – This condition occurs when the spaces within the spine become narrower and the nerves will start to feel the pressure because of the narrower space.
- Herniated Disc – This is a condition also known as ‘slip disc.’ This occurs when there is a tear in the outer layer of the disc. This results in the inner portion to move out of its proper space. There are different reasons why people develop this condition from poor posture to a sudden movement that can break the outer layer of the intervertebral disc.
- Facet Joint Osteoarthritis – This progressive disease occurs when the cartilage in between the facet joints start to break down. Whenever the joints move, it can be painful because there is no cartilage anymore to make normal movements flexible.
- Degenerative Disc Disease – While this is coined as a ‘disease,’ this is more of a condition that occurs normally as people age. When you age, your spine also becomes older and it may not be as healthy as it used to be when you were younger. The spinal discs are soft discs that are located in between the bones.
Less Possible Causes of Back Pain
If you suspect that your back pain is not only caused by muscle spasms but some other problems, here are some diseases that you can familiarize yourself with:
- Infection – There are some people who experience spinal infection. This is rare but it might occur. This can cause severe pain not only on the lower back but the whole back portion because the pain can spread to other parts of the body. This is a life-threatening condition and immediate medical treatment is needed.
- Tumors – A tumor may start in another part of the body but will spread near the spine. The most common cause is Cancer. If a person has cancer and starts to experience spinal pain, this signifies that the tumor has metastasized to the spinal area.
- Autoimmune Diseases – These are diseases wherein the body attacks its own tissues and cells because it has assumed that some of the normal cells are threats to the body overall. When you have an autoimmune disease, some parts of your body may be targeted and your spine is just one of those.
Common Causes of Getting Sprains and Strains
These are the most common reasons why you have pulled or damaged your muscle or ligament:
- You lifted a heavy object incorrectly. The proper way to lift a heavy object is by putting the strain on your knees and not on your back.
- You have made a sudden movement that has placed too much stress on your lower back. An example of this is falling down from a high place.
- You have poor posture and you did not realize that it was causing a problem with your back.
- You have done some movements while playing sports that twisted your muscles or ligaments.
Take note that sprains and strains can be very painful and you may feel like you are going through something serious but actually, your muscles and ligaments will heal over time.
Treatments for Muscle Back Spasms
You have learned a lot about the possible causes. You should be aware of the proper treatments to use if it happens to you or to someone that you know. Remember that your goal is to relax the muscle so that the pain and discomfort will be lessened.
- Use ice on the affected area.
Applying ice or anything cold on the affected area can help get rid the sudden pain that people may feel while experiencing muscle spasms. This can be effective in reducing inflammation so that the pain will be lessened.
- You can use an ice pack but if you do not have one, make a homemade version with the use of clean cloth and ice.
- Place a plastic wrap over the ice.
- Wrap the ice on the cloth and apply over the affected area.
- Do this until you get relief.
Remember that you need to remove the ice from time to time to prevent getting an ice burn.
- Get rid of the stress on your back.
If you want your muscles to relax, yo have to limit the movements that you do. The right position can make your muscles relax faster.
- Lie down on your back.
- Make sure that your upper body is slightly raised.
- Place a pillow under your knees.
If you cannot relax lying down, you can sit instead.
- Your legs should be supported properly.
- Keep your knees bent slightly.
- Use heat therapy.
If you do not have access to ice or you dislike feeling cold, you can use heat therapy to get rid of the pain instead. There are some people who choose to alternate ice and heat. It will depend on you which one you prefer.
- You can use a hot compress. If you do not have any, you can create a makeshift hot compress with the use of a water bottle and hot water wrapped in cloth.
- Apply on the affected area for about 10 minutes.
- You can change the water if it is not hot enough anymore in order to get rid of the pain.
- Use Non-Steroidal Drugs
Medications can help you when you are experiencing inflammation on your lower back and you are in a great deal of pain. There are different over-the-counter medications to choose from. Make sure that you know what drugs you are allergic to so you can avoid those. For example, some people are only able to get rid of the pain when they take acetaminophen while others are perfectly fine with other medications. Some examples of NSAID are the following:
The last thing that you want to do when you are having a muscle spasm is to walk but walking may help in getting rid of the pain. You can do the walking even before the pain strikes. For example, you can spend a day of resting in order to cure the muscle or the ligament that has been damaged. Then the next day, you can walk around a bit. Short walks will make a huge difference on your condition.
- Without any activity, your muscles will become stiffer.
- The stiffer your muscles are, the more pain you are going to experience.
By walking, you can improve blood circulation all over your body. This can help your body heal faster.
Treating Anatomical Issues
If the muscle spasm is caused by an anatomical issue, the treatments mentioned above will only get rid of the pain temporarily but will not treat the cause of the muscle spasm. You should go to a doctor so you will get proper treatment for your condition.
To get a proper diagnosis from your doctor, be as honest as possible about the symptoms that you feel. You will be required to undergo tests in order to know what your current condition is. After knowing what is causing your muscle spasm, proper treatments will be recommended.