Everyone may have experienced muscle spasm sometime in their life. Those who have experienced know how severe the pain can be. Spasm is sudden, painful, involuntary contraction of muscles. Muscle spasm can occur anywhere in the body, but it is most common in back, leg, neck and shoulders. One of the main reasons for backache, particularly low back ache is back muscle spasm.
At least in 80 percent of people who complain of tenderness, stiffness, mild moderate to excruciating back pain, the cause is spasm of back muscles. Spasm of muscles in back can limit a person’s motion.
Treating back muscle spasm is not difficult; there are several home remedies and natural ways that can alleviate pain and restricted movement. Some of them are ice and heat fomentation, massage, acupressure or acupuncture etc.
What Causes Muscle Spasms In The Back?
- Back injury: spasm of back muscles usually results from back injury. It is common in people who play sports, auto accidents or while lifting heavy weight etc. It occurs when the muscles are overstretched or few fibers of muscles are torn.
- Bad posture: gradual stiffening of back muscles is common in people who sit for prolonged period of time in same position. If you sit for long in front of computer or if you do desk work without taking a break, you are at risk of suffering from upper or lower back pain.
- Psychological stress: according to some researchers, psychological stress can trigger muscle spasm.
- Excessive use of back muscles: as seen in athletes, gymnastics, people who do strenuous exercise in gyms. The muscles get shortened or stressed; these muscles mainly support the spine and help in bending and various back movements.
- Diseases: diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney infection, spinal nerve irritation due to slipped disk can also lead to backache and back muscle spasm.
Muscle Spasms In Back Treatment
- Rest: rest and reclining in bed relieves the pain. It takes away the mechanical pressure of the stressed back, especially in first few days after the injury to back muscles. Rest allows the inflamed muscle to repair itself. Take two to three days of bed rest when the problem is acute.
- Ice and heat fomentation: apply ice on the sore area of the back. This will temporarily prevent the pain. Wrap few ice cubes in a towel to avoid direct contact of ice with skin. Keep the ice not more than 5 at a time. As keeping it longer can lead to muscle spasm. Hot fomentation with hot water bottle or heating pad also prevents relief in spasm symptoms. It increases the blood flow to the lower back and alleviates pain. Hot compresses are beneficial after first 24 hours.
- Take over the counter pain relieving and muscle relaxant medications after consulting the doctor.
- Acupressure and acupuncture are also beneficial in relaxing the stressed muscles.
- Yoga exercises for back and neck are beneficial. Gentle stretches relaxes the spasm of strained back muscles. Asanas such as savasana, bhujangasana, etc are beneficial.
Herbal Remedies For Back Muscle Spasms
- Garlic is found to be beneficial for backache treatment caused due to muscle spasm. Heat few cloves of garlic in coconut or olive oil and let it cool down. Now massage your back with this oil and allow it to remain for 3 hours after which the patient may take warm water bath.
- Lemon is another useful home remedy for relieving pain caused due to muscle spasm. Mix 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and pinch of salt in a glass of water. Drink it two times in a day.
- Chebulic myroblan: it is the herb which gives quick relief in back pain caused due to back muscle spasm. A piece of this herb should be chewed after meals.
- Chamomile tea helps in relieving back muscle spasm. Glycine, a type of protein present in it helps in relaxing the spasms.
- Milk, bananas, potatoes, soy flour products, bran wheat, tomato puree etc contain calcium and magnesium, which are essential nutrients for relaxing muscles.