There’s no question that muscle spasms of any kind are no fun at all. But the good news is that they’re preventable and treatable with conservative methods.
Because we hear so much from patients about this annoying, uncomfortable problem, we’ve put together this blog about preventing lower back spasms. We hope it serves as valuable outreach to our readers.
What Causes Them?
A variety of realities can provoke lower back spasms. Dehydration (not getting enough water) is one cause that’s easy to remedy. Drink more water! Most people don’t drink enough. And that’s a pity, because making water a lifestyle by consuming enough of it every day can prevent many health conditions. You can even help your spine by staying properly hydrated. Clue: your spinal discs need it to keep your vertebrae apart.
Recent trauma to the back can cause spasms, but lower back spasms are also experienced by pregnant women (due to spinal stress). But lifestyle has a lot to do with developing this problem. Not getting enough exercise and spending long periods of time sitting can cause lower back spasms.
Muscle back spasms are usually localized but some people struggling with them also have pain which radiates into the legs or hip.
Lower back tension or difficulty moving after you’ve bent over to retrieve something, as well as intense pain which comes suddenly are key symptoms.
But chronic pain in the region and lower back weakness (which may extend into the hips) are also signs of lower back spasms. You may also experience intermittent muscle cramps. Standing or sitting for long periods can prompt spasms.
Acute lower back spasms come suddenly and usually when changing position from standing to sitting (or vice versa) or bending to lift something. Chronic back spasms are intermittent and regular and may be caused by an injury, either recent or in the past.
The good news about lower back spasms is that they can be treated with conservative therapies like massage. This is something you can do on your own, or with a licensed massage therapist. By applying pressure to the muscle spasm for 30-60 seconds, you can ease it. Follow up the pressure with gentle massage in the immediate area, using circular motions.
Alternating Heat/cold therapy is another effective DYI treatment. Alternate heat and cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, resting for 20 minutes between the two. Wrap your heat or cold source in a towel first to protect your skin.
Ibuprofen addresses inflammation and when taken as directed, acts on the pain within 30-60 minutes.
Lower back spasm sufferers should also be diligent about water intake and, when water isn’t enough, they should consider consuming an electrolyte beverage regularly.
Central Texas Spine Institute
Dr. Randall F. Dryer is an award-winning surgeon who’s been treating patients all over the world in Austin, Texas since 1988. Named one of the top 100 surgeons in the world by Becker’s Spine, his areas of expertise are the cervical and lumbar spine.
CTSI invites you to book a consultation.