A back spasm is a condition when the muscles of the lower back contract or become tense. It is a very painful condition. The condition varies from infrequent spasm which causes mild pain or discomfort to chronic spams which cause severe backache even the patient become unable to move. The back spasm can be treated by muscle relaxing treatment modalities.
Symptoms of Lower Back Spasm
There may be many symptoms of back spasm some of which are described as following:
- Your lower back muscles become tense
- You feel difficulty in moving especially it is very uncomfortable to bend or pick something up.
- Sometimes sudden severe pain is felt in the lower back.
- In some cases, there is chronic lower back pain.
- Weakness is felt in the muscles of the back and hips.
- Sometimes cramping sensation in the back muscles is felt which is intermittent in nature.
- Pain which is aggravated by some activities like sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time.
Classification of Lumbar Muscle Spasm
Back spasms can be divided into the following two categories:
1) Acute Lumbar Muscle Spasm
These types of spasms are sudden in onset. Mostly they happen while changing position suddenly, i.e. standing from sitting or lying or lifting something. The acute spasm causes very severe pain and it is very difficult for the patient to move.
2) Chronic Lumbar Muscle Spasm
These types of spasm happen more regularly in most of the cases, the underlying cause is not known. Sometimes it happens after a back injury.
Five Tips to Manage Lower Back Spasm
Acute spasms are very painful and make difficult for the affected person to carry out the routine tasks. Chronic spasms also compromise the quality of life making difficult to do routine work.
Following modalities may help you in relieving pain that comes with spasm:
When firm pressure is applied to the affected muscle, it acts to reduce the tension in the muscles and relaxes your back. To provide a relaxing effect to a muscle spasm, apply firm pressure to the affected area for one minute, then rub the surrounding tissues in a circular manner. Keep in mind that the message must not be painful. If a pulse is felt at the affected area, do not give pressure.
2) Heat or Ice Application
Both hot and cold fomentation application is helpful in this condition. Heat improves the blood circulation towards the affected muscles and thus pain is reduced. Cold application act to reduce the inflammation and thus you feel pain relieved. You can use both hot and cold packs in an alternating manner. You must apply a hot pack for twenty minutes, then take a break for twenty minutes and then apply a cold pad for twenty minutes. You can use a hot water bottle and an ice pack for this purpose. You should not use very hot or very cold packs to prevent your skin from any damage.
3) Over-the-Counter Medication
NSAIDs are good drugs to relieve back pain but they do not provide immediate relief hence slows down the spasm within 50-60 minutes. Aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen are good drugs for this purpose. We always advise you to please consult your health provider before taking any medicine.
4) Water and Electrolytes
Dehydration is also an underlying cause of muscle spasm. It can also worsen the existing spasm. You should drink adequate water to prevent muscle spasm or if you are suffering from a recent spasm. You can also use an electrolyte drink.
5) Use a Foam Roller
A foam roller can be used to reduce muscle tension or tightness which may be felt after exercise. Muscle spasm of lumbar muscles is also reduced by proper use of a foam roller. Always take advice from your doctor before using this because the wrong use of this can cause back muscles injuries.
Three Stretches for Lumbar Muscle Spasm
Stretching activities relax the tense muscles and reduce muscle spasm. The patients suffering from acute spasm feel difficulty in moving but if you simply get up and walk, it is helpful.
Here we’ll describe some simple stretches for lumbar muscle spasm.
1) Child’s Pose
It is a yoga pose. You must kneel on the floor keeping both of your knees at a distance from each other. Fold your body in the forward direction and try to bring your chest towards your thighs. Move your arms in the forward direction beyond your head keeping palms downwards and elbows must be resting on the ground.
2) Hip Lifts
For this stretch, you are advised to lie on the floor on your back keeping your knees flexed and the soles of your feet must be resting on the ground. Slowly raise your buttocks a few inches off the floor and maintain this position for a few seconds. Repeat five to ten times.
3) Cat-Cow Pose
Get on your all the four limbs on the ground in such a manner that your knees are under your hips and your hands must be resting on the ground in a straight line with your shoulders. Extend your head in the backward direction and make an arch of your back. Take a deep breath and then exhale and then relax. Repeat this stretch five to ten times.
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