Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, about 8 out of 10 of us will have lower back pain in our lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. One culprit of back pain is lower back spasms. But, what are back spasms, what causes them, and what can you do when you experience one?
What Signs Should I Look for That Can Indicate a Back Spasm?
If you’ve ever felt that your muscle in your lower back was tight or contracting, had a dull ache in your back when you moved, or a sharp pain in a specific area of your back, you likely experienced a muscle spasm. Lower back spasms can range from being mildly bothersome to intensely painful. While some people feel a muscle spasm in a concentrated area of their backs, others find that their discomfort radiates to other nearby areas, including their hips or legs.
Specific symptoms signaling you could be having a back spasm include:
- Tension and tightness in your lower back
- Intermittent cramping in your lower back
- Intense pain in the lower back that comes on suddenly
- Lower back muscle weakness
- Difficulty moving after picking up an object or bending over
- Tightness in the back after standing, sitting, or driving for extended periods.
What Can Cause a Back Spasm?
There are a number of potential causes of lower back spasms, including the below.
- Overuse: If you’ve overused your lower back muscles, especially if you haven’t used it extensively for a while, it can trigger a muscle spasm.
- Poor posture: Particularly when driving in a car, sitting at a desk, or hunched over a computer, poor posture can strain your back muscles, leading to developing a lower back spasm. If you alter your posture to deal with a muscle spasm, you can potentially worsen your discomfort. People who have certain conditions, like spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, or arthritis, may also adjust their posture to compensate for the symptoms of their conditions, leading to muscle spasms.
- Limited exercise: If you have a sedentary lifestyle and are not getting enough exercise, your back muscles can weaken. As your lower back muscles compensate for this weakness, you can experience muscle spasms.
- Damage nerves: Nerve damage resulting from injury or diabetes, can signal lower back spasm.
- Anxiety and stress: If you unconsciously tense your muscles when undergoing stress or anxiety, it can trigger a muscle spasm.
- Scoliosis: This condition involves a twisting of the spine, which can worsen lower back spasms.
What Can I Do When I Experience a Lower Back Spasm?
Your lower back spasm treatment usually depends on the cause. Depending on the origin of your lower back spasm, your doctor may recommend you do one or more of the following treatments:
- Alternating heat and ice
- Muscle relaxants
- Physical therapy
- Exercise (gentle at first)
- Anti-inflammatory injections
- Chiropractic care
- Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing
- Surgery to repair damaged disks
- Spinal Decompression
To reduce your likelihood of experiencing lower back spasms, work on improving your posture, losing weight if overweight, and engaging in regular physical activity. If you have any conditions mentioned above that could be contributing to your lower back spasms, be sure to follow the treatment protocols recommended by your doctor.
Get Treatment for Lower Back Spasms
If you’re experiencing any of the signs of a lower back spasm, contact BackFit Health + Spine by calling us at 1-877-BACKFIT or completing our online form.