Muscle organs or back spasms can lead to severe pain and is one of the most common back problems. A back spasm is defined as an involuntary and painful, sometimes prolonged muscular contraction. Although a common problem in athletes, these muscle cramps can be seen in any population. Causes of these spasms include improper lifting at work and home, poor body mechanics, injury to the area, dehydration/vitamin deficiency, arthritis, osteoporosis, spinal problems, and multiple diseases that affect the spine and muscles. The treatment of back spasms depends on the cause so proper diagnosis as to the etiology is extremely important.
Common treatments include:
Exercise – to stretch the spastic muscles and to strengthen supporting areas.
Physical Therapy – to relieve spasm and to aid in the recovery. Most important is to develop a program strengthening and developing the muscles for prevention.
Support – bracing can be used in the acute phase, but overall braces should not be used long term. However, cushions can help with posture in the car or chair. Chairs that support the spine may help.
Weight loss – important as exercises weight puts stress on the back and supporting muscles.
Ice – may help in the acute phase.
Hot – used to increase circulation to the spastic area, which helps loosen the muscle.
Diet – a healthy diet helps the body providing the nutritional building blocks needed to repair and prevent muscle spasms.
Fluids – dehydration is a cause of muscle spasms especially in the athlete and warmer climates. Fluids replacement sports drinks are an excellent source of fluid and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium needed for treatment and prevention.
Sleep – poor sleep patterns can lead to back spasms. Mattresses can increase back pain if worn or uneven.
Footwear – improper or worn footwear can cause changes in the body mechanics. Changes can precipitate spasms.
Employment – certain jobs have a higher rate of work related back problems including back spasms. Firefighters and nurses are two jobs where back problems are higher than average. Body position and mechanics while lifting are two ways to prevent back related injuries.
Medications – medications can be used short term to help with the spasm and pain, but overall have no place in prevention. It is always important to consult your health profession.
Chiropractic care – both in the acute and recovery phase, chiropractic therapy has been proven a superior treatment for back-related problems.
Proper care should be taken to avoid back spasms. As in all medical problems, especially those related to the spine, prevention is better than the cure.