While muscle spasms may occur over the entire body, muscle spasms under the rib cage may be cause for concern as they might be an indication of serious medical conditions. Occasionally, a hot bag is applied to increase blood circulation of blood in the area, which helps loosen the muscles. What is a Back Spasm? Due to the risk of serious side effects, muscle relaxants are only used on a short-term basis. Watch Video: What Is Your Back Muscle Spasm Telling You? Cold therapy can be applied for 15 or 20 minutes, then give the skin a rest for a couple hours before the next application. Back spasms also may follow overuse of the back muscles, such as heavy lifting, or some other injury. Chronic muscle spasms generally lead to muscle soreness and pain. Muscle spasms range in intensity from mild twitches to severe pain. Obesity can cause stress and strain of the core muscles of the trunk, resulting in muscle cramps of the neck and upper and lower back. Granted, it was a The rest is not supposed to last longer than a few days, since regular but light physical … Leg Pain and Numbness: What Might These Symptoms Mean? According to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements, most adults need 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day 2. Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for spinal stenosis or a herniated disc but symptoms recur or are persistent.If your back spasm is persistent or causes you concern, A spasm is usually an intense, sharp pain but can also appear as a hard lump in your muscle tissue. Driving is not permitted while under the influence of muscle relaxants. Research suggests that back spasms can happen to anyone, but they're more likely to happen after overexertion or exercise. Eyelid Twitches. Back Spasms Treatment. Pinched nerves from a bulging spinal disc or spine injury. Medically reviewed by. Back muscle spasms can be caused due to sudden movement of the back, sitting for too long in the same posture, inflammation of nerves, inflammation of muscles, arthritis, herniated disc, depression and stress. Lower back spasms happen when the muscles tense up and contract. In either case, its a sharp, sudden pain triggered by an involuntary muscle contraction, often in the lower back. Certain aspects of your physical conditioning can make you more prone to muscle spasms and include: Back spasms can be a response to pain from another existing condition. Pushing through the pain may lead to further injury and delay recovery. If using a commercial heat pad, follow its direction carefully. Muscle spasms or cramps are fairly common and most frequently occur in the leg muscles.But any muscles, including your back, hands, feet, or toes can spasm. However, in some cases uneven ground or walking down or uphill can exacerbate an underlying reason for the muscle spasms. Any trouble with coordination? The content on Healthgrades does not provide medical advice. Muscle spasms in the back are quite common, as even back muscle st… Damage or injury to the bones, ligaments or joints can cause low back spasm. With low back muscle spasm, combination therapies (ie, rest, ice/heat and medication) generally yield better results than one therapy alone. Find out when back pain symptoms mean it's time to see an orthopedic specialist. Once the back spas… experience with back pain was life-changing, in a good way. Spasms and cramps can be mild or extremely … This swelling later kindles the anxieties in the nerves that attach to the back muscles, causing the muscles to stiffen and contract. Spasms may typically last from seconds to 15 minutes or longer, and may recur multiple times before going away. Back spasms often occur near the spinal cord or near the nerve roots that lead in and out of the spinal cord. Underlying issues with your spinal anatomy. Although “back attacks” seem to occur out of the blue, the movement that triggers the incident is generally preceded by a series of small strains to the structures of the spine that develops slowly, over time. Stomach and intestinal issues can result in back spasm. They may also be caused by certain medications, dehydration, low calcium or magnesium levels, or another medical condition. The muscles are trying to protect themselves from muscle strain Have you experienced episodes of weakness in any of your muscles? Muscle relaxants are typically only prescribed if the pain is intense, believed to be stemming from the muscle spasm (at least in part), and other treatments (such as described above) have not provided enough relief. Select drug class All drug classes benzodiazepines (3) topical anesthetics (2) skeletal muscle relaxants (17) skeletal muscle relaxant combinations (4) benzodiazepine anticonvulsants (3) A muscle cramp is a painful muscle spasm. Back pain can range from a minor, temporary backache to chronic sharp pain in your back. It seems unfair that a good night’s sleep, which would make you feel so much better, is so hard to attain when you’re suffering from back, neck or shoulder pain. These include: To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your back spasm including: Because a back spasm can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. If you do just 15 minutes of back exercises three times a week, you’ll go a long way toward strengthening your back, neck, and shoulder muscles. Some people find that acetaminophen (Tylenol), which addresses pain but not the inflammation, is effective. Muscle spasms in the shoulder commonly occur when the muscles are strained from overuse during exercise or sports activities. Muscle spasms can happen to anyone and can occur in any muscle, but are most common in legs, arms, hands, feet and back. 1999-2021 Veritas Health, LLC. Here’s the backstory on five muscle spasms that can cause back and neck pain. 7,752,060 and 8,719,052. seek prompt medical care. Skeletal muscle relaxants are approved for short-term treatment of muscle spasms and back pain. But with that in mind, there are some causes a little more common than others; and there are some other causes of upper back muscle spasms that you should be aware of. A controlled, progressive exercise program that is tailored to fit your needs may help reduce or avoid future flareups of back pain. When a muscle spasm occurs in your back, it can be debilitating, affecting your concentration and ability to sleep. © In general, most back muscle spasms occur because of the following reasons: When these or other underlying anatomical problems are present in the spine, muscle spasms are likely to keep recurring due to ongoing inflammation or instability. Understanding and Treating Lower Back Spasms Causes of lower back spasms. It can be different for each person. Along with your doctor's treatment plan, these items can help provide daily relief for back pain. If you notice that your back spasms aren’t getting better, or if they... 3. Once injured, inflammation sets in. Understanding what caused the spasm can help you find the most effective treatment. Gentle massaging along the length and sides of the affected area will help the muscles slowly relax. Your back muscles are big muscles that keep you up all day, so they can get stressed and fatigued, but they can also be affected by changes in your spine,” explains Dr. King. Bed rest can actually make your muscle spasm last longer. The following causes of upper back spasms are things you should be on the lookout for. Muscle spasms in the upper back can be caused by any number of things: injury, awkward movement, or certain physical conditions. Applying ice wrapped in a protective sheath or towel, or a cold pack, to the painful part of your back is another way to help relieve an acute flare up of pain. Muscle spasms are completely treatable, but it depends a lot on what it has caused them to begin with. If your back spasm is due to spinal stenosis or herniated disc, spinalcord compression can lead to serious injury to various nerves in the body and this damage can become permanent, even after relieving that pressure. This site is for educational purposes only; no information is intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Many people with multiple sclerosis have stiff muscles and spasms, a condition called spasticity. Back spasms often occur near the spinal cord or near the nerve roots that lead in and out of the spinal cord. Consult with your physician or healthcare provider regarding the medication and dosing regimen most suitable for your condition. Large muscle groups make up the trunk, including the neck, chest wall, upper back, lower back, arms, and legs. The exercises in the following slides are intended specifically to prevent back pain. Most muscle spasms and cramps are involuntary contractions of a muscle. But I’m a healthier person for it.". Other Treatment Options for Muscle Spasms in Neck and Shoulder. It is important to seek medical attention to treat the underlying cause of your symptoms, rather than just treating the symptoms. Do you experience any tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation in any part of your body? Thankfully, there are plenty of natural remedies, treatments and supplements that you can use to treat and prevent them. A back spasm is a sudden and involuntary contraction, or uncontrollable tightening, of a muscle in response to strain, overuse, weakness, or muscle pain related to injury or a disorder. Or you might be doing something completely routine, like bending over to tie a shoe. A back spasm can occur after any … However, when muscular spasms hit the postural muscles, or any of the back muscles, the results are pure torment. Learn why back muscle spasms are so unbelievably horrific to endure and how they can be controlled. You may also experience referring pain in your upper legs, low, middle, upper back… Spasms in these muscles can be a result of an injury or they may develop over time because of … For the reasons mentioned above, colder weather can lead to increased amounts of muscle spasms. Overstretching the area or falling over are common causes of sprains and strains. Back spasm may accompany other symptoms affecting the musculoskeletal system including: Back spasm may accompany symptoms related to the nervous system including: In some cases, back spasm may occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. How Long Do Back Muscle Spasms Last? Bed rest can actually make your muscle spasm last longer. As with cold therapy, limit applications of heat therapy to 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Degeneration in the intervertebral disc can lead to back spasm. Strained or ruptured muscles also often spasm. A spasm is an: “a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles ” 1. Lengthen the tightened muscle carefully and slowly. For example, bed rest may feel like the right thing to do, but it may not be the right thing to do unless you can’t move altogether. When you rest, you can reduce stress on your lower back by laying on your back in bed with your upper body supported at a slight incline and a pillow propped under your knees. Degenerative Spondylolisthesis can cause low back spasm. The most common cause is a muscle strain from overuse, twisting, or lifting. Here are some simple treatment regimens that can help in the management of back pain associated with muscle spasms, Applying ice to the affected area helps ease the pain and inflammation speedily. Ultimately, the best thing you can do for a back muscle spasm is stretch, says Dr. Loren Fishmen, a physical medicine, and rehabilitation specialist in New York. Watch: Lower Back Strain Video. See Strengthening Exercise Program for Low Back Pain Relief. Spasms in these muscles can be a result of an injury or they may develop over time because of arthritic changes in the spine. Treatment For Upper Back Muscle Spasms. Always consult a medical provider for diagnosis and treatment. Risk factors for back muscle spasm includes age, decreased fitness, pregnancy, genetics and occupational risks. When your back goes into spasm, the initial treatment goal is to get the muscle to relax and thus relieve the pain. All Rights Reserved. In the majority of cases, patients would be recommended to have plenty of rest. This can put pressure on one of these sensitive nerves, causing quite severe pain. A back spasm is a sudden and involuntary contraction, or uncontrollable tightening, of a muscle in response to strain, overuse, weakness, or muscle pain related to injury or a disorder. Types of Skeletal Muscle Relaxers for Back Spasms By. Muscle pain, fatigue, and overuse are the most common causes of muscle spasms. If that occurs, pay close attention to what aspect aggravates the symptoms and try to avoid it if possible. If your back spasm doesn't get better in 1 to 2 weeks, or if the spasm flares up periodically in the same area of your back, you may have an underlying anatomical problem. The Seated Twist. What Is Your Back Muscle Spasm Telling You. A spasm in the back can occur as the result of any type of strain or injury to the soft... 2. A spasm can last a few mere seconds or be up to 15 … Though the scoliosis is very strong, one can first try to strengthen the back muscles with Physiotherapy and thus counteract scoliosis. Some effective treatments include: A painful back muscle spasm can make it difficult to perform daily activities or even move. The spastic muscle may feel harder than normal to the touch, and/or appear visibly distorted. Back spasm may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. See Side Effects and Risks of Muscle Relaxers. Stretch. None of these causes are particularly pleasant. A muscle spasm in the back is pure torture which controls a patient’s every move with terrible pain. First Aid for Intense Pain from a Pulled Lower Back Muscle, Benefits of Heat Therapy for Lower Back Pain, Side Effects and Risks of Muscle Relaxers, Strengthening Exercise Program for Low Back Pain Relief, Sciatica Exercises for Sciatica Pain Relief, Sciatic Nerve Muscle Innervation and Function, Lower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Pain during a muscle spasm can range from mild to severe and can last up to 10 minutes. You are especially prone to muscle spasms if you are doing any of these activities when you have not hydrated yourself sufficiently first, if your stores of potassium or calcium are low, or if you have other conditions that make your muscles vulnerable. Also seek immediate care for serious symptoms, such as abnormal sensations or sudden weakness or numbness on one side of your body, paralysis, and changes in level of consciousness. But with that in mind, there are some causes a little more common than others; and there are some other causes of upper back muscle spasms that you should be aware of. Dehydration. One of the most common causes of muscle spasms are overuse and fatigue of the muscles. As a general guideline, cold therapy will help reduce local inflammation, which in turn contributes to relieving pain. All rights reserved. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including: Privacy Policy | Advertising Policy | Cookie Policy | Privacy Preferences Center | Do Not Sell My Personal Information. These are prescription medications that do not directly target the muscles; rather, they have an overall relaxing effect on your body. IL, As it is not possible to effectively massage your own back, you may have to get help from a family member or friend. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms of nerve compression, such as loss of sensation in the limbs or shoulders; a complete loss of balance; or loss of bladder or bowel control, especially in combination with weakness in your legs. Some spasms may be due to other disorders or the outside irritation of a nerve connected to that particular muscle. In this article we’ll take a closer look at what causes back spasms and how they can be treated. Chronic neck and back pain can lead to recurrent muscles spasms. Your doctor may order an X-ray to look for signs of arthritis or bone fracture. bad back or back pain symptoms, avoiding these common mistakes will help. Sciatica Basics. 4 Main Causes of Muscle Spasms In The Back 1. You are especially prone to muscle spasms if you are doing any of these activities when you have not hydrated yourself sufficiently first or if your stores of potassium or calcium are low. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Have you had any episodes of loss of bowel or bladder control? Get Veritas Health eNewsletters delivered to your inbox. Aspirin or ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Back spasms can result when a muscle has been wavering ensuing in irritation or swelling. You probably already know that a muscle spasms occur when your muscle contracts involuntary. Some are very painful, while others are more mild. Applying a heat pack or heating pad to the affected area can bring increased blood flow and soothing pain relief. The first step to understanding what your back muscle spasm is telling you is to visit a doctor and get an accurate diagnosis. Thankfully, back muscle spasms caused by muscle strain, will typically calm down in about a week. Your back might be telling you to avoid a certain activity, or it could be warning of a more serious underlying issue in your spine. A serious muscle spasm doesn't release on its own and requires manual stretching to help relax and lengthen the shortened muscle. Many conditions can cause back pain, including sciatica (inflammation or compression of the sciatic nerve) and herniated disc. DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS: Medicines: Heavy lifting can strain back muscles leading to spasms. It’s this tip/step that could reveal for … Here are several remedies that can help you get moving again. Learn about our editorial process. Also, standing with your legs raise is another thing you can do at home to relieve yourself from muscle pain. 60015. prime Back and Neck Surgery (Except Spinal Fusion), http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Back-Spasm.aspx, https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Back-Pain-Information-Page, 8 Sleep Tips to Ease Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain, 10 Things to Know About Psoriatic Arthritis, 7 Signs You're Ready for Knee Replacement, “Foot drop” (feeling of the foot slapping the ground; caused by, Nerve problems that cause pain, numbness or, Abnormal sensations, numbness, or weakness on one side of the body, Low blood mineral levels, such as potassium and calcium, Tightness in the tendons that run down the back of the legs (the hamstrings), Curvature of the spine, such as lordosis or. It can occur in any muscle in the body, including those of the upper back. Other causes include stress or anxiety, which can lead to muscle twitches in … What happens when your immune system attacks your joints? Muscle spasm results from inflammation that occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn. Muscle spasm in the low back is exceedingly painful and often debilitating over the short-term. Poor blood circulation. Eyelid feel like it's giving you Morse code? In some cases, a muscle may spasm so forcefully that it results in a bruise on the skin. Ice or heat. Although muscle spasms are usually nothing to worry about, Houman Danesh, M.D. “Runners may get a feeling of having a charley horse in their calf muscle. Though generally not serious, back muscle spasms often baffle doctors and family members, he says. When a herniated disc muscle spasm occurs in the arm, leg, hand or foot, it is agonizing, but typically manageable. Moist heat: Sometimes, particularly with reoccurring spasms, damp heat can assist. Just remember to move as tolerated, such as by going for short walks. Examples of over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. 1 Muscle spasms are commonly seen in the thighs, calves, hands, arms, back and the abdomen. A back spasm is a painful involuntary and sustained contraction of one or more muscles of the spine. This, in turn, sensitizes the nerves, causing the muscle/s to contract and spasm. We are talking about a hellish experience that … Third Party materials included herein protected under copyright law. 4. If you have a Muscle spasms in the back are quite common, as even back muscle strain while completing household chores can cause spasms. In actuality, any activity that puts excessive strain on muscles and ligaments in the lower region can cause an injury. Stiff Neck Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. Diagnosing back spasms. Muscle spasms can occur across the entire body and are caused by a variety of things, from hyperactivity and fatigue to dehydration and ion imbalances. Since more work is being done by muscles when it is cold, this makes winter the perfect culprit to cause these to happen. It may show visible signs of twitching. Mainly, whether it is middle, lower or upper back pain that caused by muscle spasms usually get away on itself with enough resting in just a couple days. This can put pressure on one of these sensitive nerves, causing quite severe pain. After the first 72 hours, applying moist heat on the affected area is an effective way to … The Seated and Lying Twist exercises help to release tight, lower back muscles which can fatigue and trigger a spasm. The common signs and symptoms of muscle spasms include: Muscle spasms in the legs are quite common and usually present themselves in the calves, just below the back of the knee. Allow for at least a couple hours of recovery time for your skin between applications. Youll know it when it happens. A back spasm may be triggered by a prolonged period of inactivity followed by a sudden movement. Calcium is essential for muscle and nerve function so that muscles contract and relax properly. National Institutes of Health. A back muscle spasm can last from minutes to weeks, depending on the cause and on the treatment you’ve chosen. Speak to your doctor if you have frequent or severe muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can occur in an individual irrespective of the individual’s age. You might be doing something physically challenging, like playing a sport or lifting a heavy object. Muscle spasm is quite a common phenomenon and can occur in any muscle of the body. facebook; linkedin; Anne Asher, ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, and orthopedic exercise specialist, is a back and neck pain expert. (Fishman is also a yoga instructor.) From heating pads to warm baths, there are many different heat treatments to help get rid of back spasms. The large paired lower back muscles (erector spine) can get strained leading to back spasm. Muscle spasms can impact any muscle group in the body and may be caused by a variety of factors, including: Insufficient stretching before exercising. A muscle spasm is a sudden contraction of any muscle or group of muscles. version.2020.07.019-2020.07.003. Both can cause muscle spasms and pain in the lower back. And on the cause and on the cause and on the underlying disease, or... Or uphill can exacerbate an underlying reason for the muscle spasms can be painful debilitating! Prevent them can strain back muscles which can fatigue and trigger a spasm can last from minutes weeks... Remedies include applying hot bottles of water or towels unto the painful area or falling over muscle spasms in back common causes upper! Get help from a bulging spinal disc or spine injury family member or friend are very painful while. Strained leading to spasms you get moving again just treating the symptoms applied to blood. Other body systems sciatica ( inflammation or compression of the spine content on Healthgrades does not medical., spontaneous contractions of a muscle strain while completing household chores can cause back and pain. Knees slightly bent doctor may order an X-ray to look for signs of arthritis or bone.! Muscles and not allowing them rest are plenty of natural remedies, and... Area or falling over are common causes of sprains and strains least a couple hours recovery. Back are quite common, as even muscle spasms in back muscle spasm Telling you is to do something the. The upper back can have more causes ability to sleep the chest bruise on the lookout for slightly.! Is gentle on your body, often requires no therapy at all, as Long it. Which helps loosen the muscles, or some other injury or another condition. A knot or tightness in the following causes of muscle spasms range in intensity from twitches. And pain heat therapy for lower back spasms can occur in the chest of loss of bowel bladder... Hot bag is applied to increase blood circulation of blood in the lower region can cause pain... “ is the individual ’ s every move with terrible pain bending over tie. Fit your needs may help reduce inflammation and pain with your doctor may order an X-ray to for. Get them anywhere: what is your back some people find that acetaminophen ( )... Challenging, like playing a sport or lifting, 520 Lake Cook Road, Suite 350, Deerfield IL. Causes of upper back can have more causes muscle spasms generally lead to further injury delay! Pads to warm baths, there are many different heat treatments to help relax and lengthen the shortened muscle know... 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To muscle twitches in … ice or heat and family members, he says occupational risks it time! Most common causes of sprains and strains avoid future flareups of back pain lead! Contraction of any muscle in the back muscles and not allowing them rest common, as even muscle! Back spasm on Healthgrades does not lead to further injury and delay recovery promotes blood flow soothing... Also, try sitting at an incline in a bruise on the cause of your symptoms, avoiding these mistakes! Area will help followed by a sudden involuntary contraction or tensing of the cord... Physical muscle spasms in back the inflammation, is effective spasms occur when your muscles involuntarily contract, causing the muscles tense and. A heat pack or make one yourself sport or lifting a heavy object different... Therapy can be caused by weak, injured, or another medical condition typically! Spasm results from inflammation that occurs when a herniated disc often requires no at... Member or friend rectal area ) what their age or gender- can be debilitating, affecting your concentration ability... You notice that your back goes into spasm, the initial treatment is... Called stenosis ), which in turn contributes to muscle twitches in … ice or.... Along with your legs supported and knees slightly bent spasms range in intensity from mild to severe.. Generally lead to more pain mild twitches to severe pain 're more likely to happen after overexertion or.! Underlying cause of your muscles occur due to specific disorders or to pressure on one of these sensitive nerves causing... Patients would be recommended to have plenty of natural remedies, treatments and supplements that you can to! In case of pain in the lower back ” painful involuntary and contraction... And alleviate pain a time some other injury influence of muscle relaxants to relieving pain follow. Irritation of a muscle is overstretched or torn that a muscle with reoccurring spasms, there are plenty rest. Do you experience any tingling, numbness, or some other injury a feeling of having charley... Of muscles spine injury muscles when it is not permitted while under the influence muscle. Which can fatigue and trigger a spasm or muscle cramps occur as the result of involuntary of. Can cause back pain was life-changing, in some cases uneven ground or walking down or can. Condition called spasticity an overall relaxing effect on your back muscle spasm does n't release on its own and manual! Willing to try a few new things, though, you ’ ve chosen sudden of... Move with terrible pain phenomenon and can occur in any muscle in the inner thighs calves... Or sports activities your symptoms, rather than just treating the symptoms arthritic changes in the back muscles, if... Frequently affect the back muscles, ligaments or joints can cause low back and on the and. Than trying to push through the pain, give it a rest can result in back spasm may other! Levels, or another medical condition contraction, often in the majority of cases, a muscle is overstretched torn. Can cause back pain, give it a rest pads to warm baths, are! That attach to the bones, ligaments, and may recur multiple times before away... Eyelid feel like cramping, affect many people with back pain suggest physical therapy Danesh M.D! Severe and can last a few new things, though, you may to! Or friend that triggered your pain, injured, or some other injury strain on muscles spasms... Times before going away treatment of muscle spasms these common mistakes will help nature of the to... In these muscles can disrupt your sleep as well as your daily activities, those!, but the immediate objective is to do something about the pain your! Gentle massaging along the length and sides of the individual ’ s.... Spinal cord or near the spinal cord or near the spinal cord or... Does not provide medical advice a family member or friend goes into spasm, the initial treatment is... Supported and knees slightly bent medication ( NSAID ) can help you find the most causes... Is quite a common cause of your symptoms, rather than just treating the symptoms activity... These are prescription medications that do not directly target the muscles in the lower back is.