Some of the most common causes of back stiffness are muscle spasms or arthritis of the spine, especially in the lumbar region.
People who suffer from lumbar arthritis have progressively worsening symptoms over the years.
Muscle stiffness is also commonly caused by an acute trauma due to using an incorrect technique while performing heavy weightlifting.
Stiffness in the back or neck limits the mobility of the person and can also lead to tensed up muscles in the shoulder, or even cause tension headaches, all of which can affect a person’s ability to carry out their daily routine or daily activities. Below you can explore the symptoms, causes and treatment for a stiff back, and learn how to get back pain relief from chronic back pain, including chronic lower back pain and chronic neck pain.
There are many causes of a stiff, back some of which are listed here:
1) Tightness of the Hamstrings
Hamstring muscles are present on the back of one’s thigh. These muscles are bulky and large and may become tight due to some reasons such as sedentary lifestyle or not stretching the muscles before work out. Tensed hamstrings increase the pressure in the pelvis which in turn increases the strain in the lower back and can then lead to a tight lower back.
2) Poor Sitting Posture
A large majority of people spend almost 8 hours a day sitting down and do not maintain proper sitting posture. Side effects of these ill sitting postures are:
- Stress on the lower back muscles
- The strain on the lumbar region of the spine
- Normal curvatures of the spine are lost gradually.
3) Disc Herniation
Due to age-related or any pathological wear and tear changes in the intervertebral discs, one or more discs can become herniated and cause painful symptoms.
4) Muscle or Ligament Strain
Spinal ligaments and muscles of the back can become fatigued due to heavy weightlifting and thus strained.
Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition which affects the cartilages of joints, and thus their shock absorbing effect is reduced. Vertebrae gradually become unable to move against each other and tightness of the back occurs.
6) Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatic nerve pain is a painful disease in which the root of the sciatic nerve is compressed, and severe pain occurs in the lower back radiating towards buttocks and one or both legs.
As many conditions may lead to the back stiffness, the doctor shall first start by taking a history, and then carry out a physical examination to determine the root cause and treat accordingly. Additional investigations such as X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans or electromyograms may be required.
How can I relieve my back stiffness?
If you are suffering from back stiffness, the following household remedies may help your stiffness.
- Applying a heating pad, and alternating it with a cold compress. Hot fomentation helps increase blood flow to the affected area, while an ice pack relieves pain and reduces inflammation.
- Light exercises to stretch the spine. Some examples are yoga stretches such as the child’s pose or the cat cow pose.
To perform the latter, lower yourself to the floor to position yourself on your hands and knees. Have your knees bent at a 90 degree angle for optimal stability. Arch your spine upward and turn your head towards your stomach, then release, arch your spine downward and turn your head towards the ceiling. Repeat a few times.
For the child’s pose, you can start on your hands and knees as well, but this time, keep your hands still on the floor and bend your knees, as you move your hips to lay on your ankles and bring your knees to chest.
- Other light exercises to try are those that strengthen the core muscles.
- Painkillers to reduce the pain temporarily
- Massage – Massage therapy decreases the spasm of the back muscles resultantly reducing the stiffness.
- Physical therapy. Working with a physical therapist can be great if you feel stiffness in your back or neck, as they can help you reduce the stiffness and re-establish the mobility of your spine.
- Spinal decompression therapy.
Backrack - Non-Invasive Back Pain Treatment
Why spinal decompression therapy is the best solution to reduce and prevent stiffness as well as pain in the back and neck
Spinal decompression is a treatment modality that helps re-adjust your spine through gentle exercises that massage and stretch your back. When your spine is compressed, the structures along your back don’t have sufficient space to perform their regular functions, and as such this can reduce your spinal mobility.
Decompression of the spine helps revert this process, creating the space necessary for your muscles, spinal joints, vertebrae, nerve roots, spinal discs, spinal cord, and other structures along the back to move freely, treating the pain and stiffness and preventing them from returning in the future. It works even for cases of chronic low back pain, or chronic neck pain.
As a side note, if your symptoms don’t improve with home treatments, they get worse, or are accompanied by a high fever, loss of bladder or bowel control, or other symptoms that signal that something serious is causing your stiffness and pain, seek immediate medical advice and help, as it may represent an emergency.
Author: Spinal Backrack