Back Spasms Explained
A back spasm occurs when your back muscles tighten causing pain. Back spasms are a common back condition. It is estimated that a staggering 80 percent of Americans have had or will experience some sort of back pain at least once in their lives. Back spasms can last from a few days to several weeks.
Pain caused by a back spasm can vary from dull to sharp and debilitating. Excruciating pain can affect a person’s mobility. Many people who get spasms in their back reduce social interactions and stop partaking in their favorite activities to avoid exercise-induced muscle soreness and pain. Lack of social interaction and physical activity can affect one’s physical and mental health.
Back spasms can start without any warning. In some cases, they may start as a mild twitch that can develop into agonizing pain. Athletes who do heavy lifting and people with other back conditions are more likely to experience back spasms.
Back spasms can affect the entire body. Sometimes, pain from back spasms can radiate to other parts of the body such as the hips and legs. Back spasms can indicate underlying conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis and gallstones.
Some common signs of back spasms include
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Odd sensations, numbness, and weakness on one side of the body
- Muscle weakness in arms or legs, limb numbness
- A tight knot
- Sudden cramping that comes and goes
- Difficulty bending and/or moving
There are many ways that back spasms are caused. Some of the most common causes of back spasms are
- Weak muscles: If you have a sedentary lifestyle, sit for long periods, or fail to maintain good posture when sitting, standing, walking, or lying your muscles can become weak and spasm
- Using your muscles too much: Muscle overuse is as harmful as not using muscles at all. People who do a lot of heavy lifting may experience spasms. Heavy lifting overstretches muscles, tearing fibers in them. As a result, a muscle strain or pulled muscle occurs
- A spinal disc disorders: In people with degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc, surrounding muscles tighten to immobilize the affected area. This can result in back spasms
- Anxiety and stress: When you are stressed or anxious, your muscles in the back and neck tighten. Prolonged muscle tension is a common cause of muscle spasms and stiffness
- Traumatic injury: A fall or sudden and abnormal twisting or bending movement can cause a sprain or strain to occur
- Arthritis: Some types of inflammatory arthritis that affect the spine can cause painful back spasms
- Spinal stenosis: Occurs when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This can lead to inflammation and back spasms
- Spondylolisthesis: A spinal condition that occurs when a vertebra in the lumbar spine slips out of its original position. Some people with spondylolisthesis experience back spasms, back pain, and stiffness
- Fibromyalgia: Is a chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain. The health condition can cause sleep, memory, and mood issues. Fibromyalgia patients are prone to back spasms
- Nutritional deficiency: If your diet lacks essential nutrients such as vitamin D, potassium, and magnesium, your muscles can weaken and as a result, spasms can occur
Why you Should not Ignore Back Spasms
If your back spasms do not get better in a week or two or come and go over time, you may have an underlying structural condition.
Back spasms can be caused by a herniated disc, facet joint arthritis, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. If you ignore back spasms, the underlying condition can go undetected
Chiropractic Care for Back Spasms
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications for back spasms have side effects and can be addictive. People who want to avoid drug side effects turn to chiropractic care for help. Chiropractic care is non-invasive and completely drug-free, and can hence reduce dependence on pain medications. It treats the root cause of back spasms, rather than just masking the symptoms.
Chiropractors apply controlled gentle pressure to the affected joint. The procedure is known as chiropractic adjustment. The goal of chiropractic adjustment is to relieve pain, restore normal joint function, and correct muscle imbalance.
Chiropractors also use physical therapy to strengthen the affected muscles and surrounding muscles. Many chiropractors combine chiropractic care techniques with massage therapy.
Massage therapy improves the range of motion and promotes healing by targeting tight and sore muscles. When your muscles relax, the pain subsides.
Studies show that chiropractic care is an effective treatment for back spasms. Regular adjustments can help relieve pressure on your back muscles, reducing the intensity and frequency of spasms. Back spasms are often accompanied by muscle tightness and inflammation. Your chiropractor may recommend massage therapy to reduce inflammation.
Chiropractors use several chiropractic techniques to alleviate pressure on nerves, allowing them to relax so they stop sending pain signals that cause involuntary contraction in the brain. If you are not getting enough nutrients, your chiropractor can offer nutritional advice.
How do chiropractic adjustments work? Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the brain to release feel-good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These hormones improve mood, help relieve pain and promote wellbeing.
Tips to Prevent Back Spasms
They say prevention is better than cure. Follow these tips to decrease your risk of back spasms.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stand up straight and wear low-heeled shoes
- If you have a desk job, get up from your seat and stretch every 30 minutes
- Exercise regularly
Toth Chiropractic is one of the most trusted chiropractic clinics in Santa Rosa. Dr. Douglass Toth has years of experience crafting customized chiropractic treatment plans to help patients with back spasms. To book your appointment, call (707) 355-6535.