When muscles in the back are contorted in unnatural positions, strained, or suddenly twisted, muscle spasms often occur. Tension in the back muscles due to poor posture or lifting heavy objects improperly can also cause spasms. Muscle spasms are one of the leading causes of back pain, and the types of pain they cause depend on the severity of the injury. How back pain and muscle spasms are treated varies, based on how severe the pain is and the degree of muscle tightness that the patient is experiencing.
Muscle spasms are usually brought on by an injury to the muscles of the back. Sudden movements or overtaxing the back muscles forces them to involuntarily contract. Muscles that are tense or tight for a prolonged period of time are also prone to involuntary contractions. This tensing is the basis for back pain and muscle spasms. Consequently, they can be caused by a wide array of daily activities ranging from coughing to moving heavy boxes.
People have different thresholds for back pain. The physical symptoms associated with muscle spasms in the back range from feelings of mild cramping to sharp, incapacitating pains. Most pain occurs suddenly and lasts for several minutes at a time, although some muscle spasms in the back extend for hours.
The treatment for back pain and muscle spasms is contingent on how the initial injury to the muscle happened and whether or not the patient can physically rehabilitate the muscle on his or her own or will need the assistance of a medical professional. Injuries from improper motions or overuse are the easiest to treat because the cause of the muscle spasms has already occurred. Most healthcare providers will apply some form of heat therapy, rest, and gentle range of motion exercises to alleviate the discomfort. If tightness in the muscles is the cause of the back spasms, relief will take longer because the underlying muscle stiffness must be addressed through physical therapy sessions. A medical professional may also prescribe muscle relaxers in order to mitigate the physical symptoms.
Stretching can sometimes help prevent muscle injuries from occurring. People should also maintain an upright posture to help the back muscles stay limber and flexible. Employing proper lifting techniques and wearing back supports limits strain on the back muscles and will often stave off back pain and muscle spasms.