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What Actually Is a Back Spasm?

Back SpasmSpasms (or cramps) happen when a muscle in the body suddenly contracts and can’t relax. And, while they can occur in muscles throughout the body, they commonly occur with back muscles. It is also common for a spasm to come without warning, and while it might start out as a relatively benign twitch, it can also result in severe pain. You should also understand that a spasm in the back can broaden out to other parts of your body, such as your legs or hips.

What are the causes of back spasms?

There are a variety of reasons why you might experience a spasm. It could be that you have not used your muscles regularly enough, spending more time than is wise sitting rather than moving around to stretch and loosen your muscles. On the other hand, it might be that you have overextended yourself by doing too much physical labor or sports activities. Muscle spasms can also occur because you have let yourself get dehydrated.

It’s most important to realize that a back spasm may also be the sign of a more serious condition like gallstones or a kidney infection, so if you experience a back spasm that does not go away within a few days or happens with other symptoms like loss of bladder control, muscle weakness in your arms or a loss of balance, you need then to seek out expert medical care.

What is the best way to treat a back spasm?

The treatment that most often helps with a simple spasm is applying ice or heat. You might also find relief with pain medications like Motrin, Aleve and Ibuprofen. In time, you might also want to seek out the services of a physical therapist to help get your back muscles in a more supple, relaxed state.

Relief from a back spasm can take up to a week to resolve and return to normal. But if after several days you are not experiencing any relief from the actions you are taking, it would be wise for you to see your doctor.

Also, if a spasm occurs with any regularity in the same location, you will want to have it checked out.

Are there things I can do to prevent a back spasm?

Yes, and this is one of the many reasons that you want to keep yourself in as good physical condition as you can, stretching out before you engage in athletics, maintaining good posture when sitting, and getting up and moving around after you have been inactive for an extended period.

Back spasms should be viewed as the body talking to you. If you experience one, it is likely that you have either been over doing it, or not doing enough in the way of proper exercise and diet.

*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
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