Back spasms are involuntary contractions of back muscles that fail to relax. Spasms can occur in any muscle in your body, and can cause sharp and intense pain.
Back spasm episodes may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and when your muscle contracts, it may also feel hard to the touch or appear twisted under the skin.
From our expert at Premier Spine Institute, Dr. Bonaventure Ngu, here are the steps you should consider taking when trying to relieve your back spasms.
Warmth increases blood flow and relaxes muscles. Your blood carries nutrients and growth factors to injury sites, so, if you’re suffering from spasms due to an injury, increasing blood flow through a hot bath may also help you heal faster.
Alternatively, you can use hot packs to help relax your back muscles and increase blood flow.
For quick relief, carry an over-the-counter topical cream designed to combat muscle pain. These creams often contain counterirritants, salicylates, or lidocaine.
Commonly used counterirritants in topical creams are menthol, eucalyptus, and wintergreen. Salicylates are aspirin-like compounds, and lidocaine is a topical anesthetic.
Apply the cream in thin layers no more than three or four times per day. The active ingredients in the topical creams can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream, causing side effects.
Electrolytes are minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals control muscle contractions throughout the body, including your heart.
When these minerals are depleted — whether due to poor nutrition or stress — spasms can occur.
Whole foods such as avocados, potatoes, spinach, fresh meat, and eggs are rich in minerals. Another easy and simple way to get more electrolytes is to drink water with salt.
Gently massaging the contracted muscle may help release tension, stretching the muscle and allowing it to relax. You can massage the muscle as a preventive measure.
We all experience spasms at some point in our lives, but if you experience back spasms on a regular basis, you may benefit from seeing a medical professional. Often, recurring back spasms are caused by strains or injuries, weak muscles, or degenerative diseases. Dr. Ngu addresses the underlying cause and may also prescribe a muscle relaxant to bring you immediate relief.
Contact us to schedule an appointment at Premier Spine Institute located in The Woodlands, Humble, and Baytown, Texas. We can determine what’s causing your muscle spasms and teach you how to combat painful episodes.