Nowadays, back spasms or back pain is a common problem affecting nearly every person. However, back pain only remains for a few hours. Those suffering from it are at higher risk of developing chronic pain problems. However, a few exercises and a healthy diet are easy ways to defend ourselves against the prevention of back spasms. But, it is more important to completely understand the facts of back spasms before going after treatment.
What are Back Spasms?
Different Muscles of the Back
Our back consists of strong muscle blocks. They act as ropes of scaffolding. The primary function of back muscles is to provide support to our spinal cord. Also, they hold the weight of our body either we are sitting or we are standing. The muscles of the back are primarily categorized into 3 different forms due to their location. These three categories include superficial back muscles, intermediate back muscles, and deep back muscles. And, only intrinsic back muscles are formed during embryological development. However, the other two categories of muscles do not form at the time of embryological development.
Functioning of Muscles
The superficial muscles seat just under the skin. They help in the movement of shoulders and upper limbs. And, the intermediate muscles help in the movement of the rib cage during inhalation. They elevate the rib cage as we inhale and depress the rib cage when we exhale. Furthermore, deep muscles or intrinsic muscles are further divided into three levels. They are superficial, intermediate, and intrinsic muscles. They work in a synchronized manner to control the posture of our bodies. Besides, they help in the movement of the spinal column.
Why Back Spasms?
The muscles of back play important roles in plenty of activities associated with our daily life. Also, they support our spine and control the posture. These muscles are otherwise very strong, but our habits can make them weak. This weakness of muscles can result in back spasms. However, people suffering from it complaints aches in any part of the back. These aches are often debilitating but last for only a few hours.
Types of Back Spasms
Moreover, anyone can experience back spasms which they define in 3 ways. These are upper back pain, middle back pain, and lower back pain. The differentiation of pain depends on the experience of aches in different regions of the back. When someone experiences pain from the lower part of the neck to below shoulder plates, then they call it upper back pain. And, when someone experiences pain under shoulder plates to upper hips, then they call it middle back pain. Furthermore, when someone experiences pain from hips to the upper part of buttocks, then they refer to it as lower back pain.
However, we suffer from different back spasms falling under different classifications. These classifications include –
This classification is also known as mechanical pain. This type of pain confines to a single spot or region only. And, people describe the pain in many ways, such as constant pain, throbbing pain, sharp or dull pain. Also, several sufferers describe it as ‘on and off pain’.
This classification of back spasms is generally characterized as dully and achy. Also, this pain classification tends to move around with different intensity.
Those people suffering from this classification of pain describe it as a burning sensation in back. Some also describe it as shock-like ache.
The pain management official can offer the right treatment. This can be on the basis of your description of pain, area of distribution, and any related symptoms. The reason behind this is to identify any underlying causes resulting in back spasms. And, there are several anatomic structures in our back such as ligaments. These could be responsible for back spasms. These structures along with your description help a health care professional to prescribe the right treatment option for you.
History Of Back Spasms
The history of back pain is very vivid. There are pieces of evidence that back spasms are affecting us since 1500 B.C. However, there has been an acute rise in the problem since World War 2. The history of back spasms is well documented. The primary difference between now and then is only a different perspective on how it was understood and managed. The key ideas on pain management are developed in the 19th Century. And, it is still helping us in the treatment. The key ideas were only two. In the first one, pain management officials came to the conclusion that the cause of back spasms is the spinal cord.
And, the other idea of diagnosing back spasms problem is rheumatic conditions. However, considering back spasms as a result of nerve conditions was the base of treatment in ancient times. Therefore, people were only given therapeutic treatment which was not very helpful for them.
Interesting to Know – Back Spasm Facts
Nowadays, pain management officials look into several anatomic structures offering better treatment options. This approach of treatment is evolving since the 19th century. The modern approach of treatment is primarily linked with the evolution of orthopedics and its key principles.
During the 18th century, orthopedic solutions for back spasms were offered. But, the orthopedics then considered childhood deformities as a key reason for back issues. However, orthopedics in the 19th century started to link back spasms with few anatomical problems. But, the most common treatment option offered by them was only bed rest and analgesics.
These approaches have helped to modernize the pain management system which relies on resting, exercising, and medications. Also, there are several spine issues to overcome via surgery. There is no doubt that back spasms have affected the human race since times immemorial. And, people’s different approach to pain management is helping us today in offering more efficacious treatment options.
Moreover, the advancement of medical technology is also helping people to fight this issue. Additionally, technological advancements are also helping people to live a normal life even after surgical procedures. Furthermore, our ability to learn from the past is also helping us to manage pain through several exercise suggestions from physiotherapists.
Symptoms of Back Spasms
Every person affected by back spasms suffers from different symptoms. These symptoms are important in the diagnosis of the problem. This is why pain management officials ask several questions to develop a better understanding of the issue. Let us take a look at different symptoms that affect people suffering from back spasms.
Site of Pain
The prime symptoms are associated with different parts of the spinal cord. These spinal pain sites include thoracic, sacrum, paraspinal, coccygeal, cervical, and lumbar. Also, the region of pain is many times directly overlying the spine. Moreover, muscle aches or muscle sprain is also one of the leading causes of back spasms. Those who sit for long hours may suffer from lateral back pain or hip pain. And, unilateral back pain is also a very common symptom of this problem. Nonetheless, pain between scapulas is another common symptom of this problem.
Onset of Pain
The symptoms of back spasms are commonly associated with the time of onset of pain. The clearer picture of the onset of pain helps in choosing a better treatment option. There are few things to consider like when did the first pain start? The pain was sudden or it is increasing gradually? What you were doing during the onset of pain? The answers to these questions are combined with symptoms to select the right treatment.
Radiation of pain to legs or buttocks is a common complaint by sufferers of back spasms. Also, there are many complaints associated with pain in upper limbs and/or lower limbs. The most painful situation occurs when pain radiates to the lower part of the groin. And, the most worrisome part of back spasms is when pain radiates to chest and epigastrium. Additionally, people who suffer from pain in the abdomen along with lower back pain are taken seriously by pain management officials.
Associated Symptoms with Back Spasms
The aches could lead to sensory disturbances. Additionally, motor disturbances or weakness of limbs is also a reason for back spasms. And, those of us who suffer from urinary retention or urinary incontinence or other urinary disturbances should seek medical attention immediately. This approach can help to diagnose any underlying disease responsible for back pain. However, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting is a common complaint amongst backs spasms sufferers. Other common symptoms associated with back spasms include fatigue, early morning stiffness, and muscular aches. But, weight loss is an uncommon symptom that needs to be assessed by medical professionals.
Time Course and Severity
The duration of back spasms is a very essential aspect of the right treatment method. The aches commonly affect us for few hours only. But if the time course is too less like minutes or lasts for weeks or months then it is a cause of concern. Nevertheless, the different kinds of aches we experience are fluctuating and/or improve with time. Nonetheless, the severity of the pain cannot be overlooked. It is essential for you to determine the severity of pain. Are the aches disturbing your daily routine life or restricting the movement of the body? Then there is a need to reach out to a medical professional. Are these aches lasting longer than a few hours or a few days? Then a diagnosis of the condition becomes utterly important.
Complications And Risk Factors Of Back Spasms
The common complications associated with back pain are discomfort and inability to move the affected part. But, there are several other health complications which could be the cause of back spasms. Let us take a look at a few risk factors associated with back spasms.
The muscles of back support our vertebral column. The discs of the vertebral column start to deteriorate gradually after the age of 30. These discs of the vertebral column start losing moisture. The loss of moisture could cause discs to shrink. Due to this, the facet joints have to bear more weight of the body than they naturally do. And, pressure on the joints could become arthritic which results in back spasms.
Trauma is one of the leading causes of a back injury. Any trauma can damage and inactivate the back muscles due to which they are unable to support the spinal column. The long-term back pain increases the risk of sprains. It also causes damage to discs or damages the tissues and ligaments of the back. Nevertheless, nearly 15% to 20% of people experience recurrent back spasms after trauma only. The risk of trauma increase with sudden movements, lifting heavy objects using back bent and straight legs. These sudden and inappropriate movements could deactivate the muscles and increase the risk of injury to the vertebral column.
A sedentary lifestyle is the most common cause of back spasms. Lack of exercise not only lead to other health complications but also damage the nerves and muscle of our back. A sedentary lifestyle is not limited to staying in bed. But, those who sit for long hours are also at higher risk of developing back spasms. The lack of exercise in routine life could lead to muscle inflexibility. This affects the normal ability of back muscles to bend and rotate.
Also, it weakens the muscles due to which load on the vertebral column and facet discs increases. Nonetheless, abdominal pain is also caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Those who stay on bed longer or sit for long hours tend to fall prey to weak muscles of the stomach. This results in increased strain on the back muscles. Additionally, it can cause the pelvic muscles to tilt abnormally. Collectively, the biochemical load increases causing several health issues and persistent back spasms.
Obesity is nothing more than wrong weight management or neglecting weight management. It is a simple problem that can be easily handled. But, overlooking it has caused serious effects on our health. The simple equation is, the more you weigh, the more your joints and muscles have to take the pressure. A large belly is often seen in obese people. The effect of the large belly is that it pulls the spine forward. Due to this, the alignment of the spinal column is negatively affected. Also, being overweight causes muscle strains by reducing its natural flexibility. This, in turn, strains the muscles causing back spasms. Additionally, muscles of the back also become stiff due to which their natural ability to operate decreases.
Myths Regarding Back Spasms
There are many myths associated with back spasms. These myths are popular mainly because of people’s increasing interest in traditional medicines. However, medical science is very advanced nowadays. So, associating yourself or believing in these popular myths can do more harm than benefitting you. Nevertheless, a long history of back spasms has taught us well. Whilst enhancing our capability to deal with this problem. Let us take a look at a few popular myths about back pain.
An unavoidable effect of aging
There is no significance between getting older and living with pain. However, there are several effects on the body due to the aging process. But, staying fit reduces the negative effects of the aging process. An active routine will keep your muscles strong and flexible which is a huge benefit for avoiding any health condition.
Medical Diagnosis Always Leads to Surgery
Indeed some of the issues require surgery. But, surgery for back spasms is not always an option. A large number of people recover from back pain after a few lifestyle changes. There are so many people who suffer from aches but nearly 5% to 10% only develop an acute form of back spasms. And, medical science is capable to address the back pain issues in an effective way that those who suffer from acute pain can recover from it. In most cases, backaches are remedied on its own without any special treatment.
Exercise is A Prime Cause
If you think a little bit then you will know on your own that exercise is beneficial or harmful for the body. It is a big misconception amongst people that exercise causes back spasms. However, you may experience body aches when you start exercising. But, it will heal on its own as soon as your body adapts to it. Instead, exercise can help you to avoid back pain. Nevertheless, it is not suggested by medical professionals to suddenly start heavy exercising. It will be good for the body if we gradually increase the intensity of exercise.
Firmest Mattress is to Avoid Back Spasms
There is no evidence that a very hard mattress can guarantee you to never develop back pain. Instead, sleeping on very hard surfaces may lead you to body aches including backaches. Also, using such mattresses may worsen the condition and lead you to an acute form of back pain. It will be beneficial for our body if we sleep on such a mattress that balances our natural posture.
Some Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) Related to Back Spasms
Q: Why so many people suffer from backaches?
A: Unhealthy lifestyle and age are two prime reasons for backaches. Those who do not indulge in exercising easily fall prey to back spasms. The weakening of bones and reducing muscle tone associated with aging also causes backaches. Other factors like obesity, poor posture, trauma, and smoking can contribute to your backache problem.
Q: How to distinguish between slipped disc, herniated disc, bulging disc, and a ruptured disc?
A: There is no prime difference between all four. These cases occur after discs become weakened over time. It causes a part of disc bulging out of the bony parts of the vertebral column.
Q: How can I avoid developing backaches?
A: There are a few simple yet effective methods to avoid backaches.
- Stretch before and after intense exercising.
- Do not slouch while sitting, and keep your weight balanced on both the feet while standing.
- Take proper rest daily. Take account of every extra pound of your body. Always maintain a healthy BMI.
- Never lift a too-heavy object. Also, use the strength of legs more than your back while bending forward or lifting. Avoid smoking to decelerate the degeneration of the spinal cord.
Q: How often is surgery needed for backaches?
A: Most episodes of back spasms improve within six weeks of onset. It is estimated that only 5% of sufferers can be efficiently helped by the surgery.
Q: How exercise can help me even when I am suffering from back spasms? I don’t want to lie on the bed.
A: Lying in bed inhibits recovery by weakening the muscles. Although an activity might hurt a bit, yet it does not mean the worsening of aches. Besides, increasing the strength of muscles around the vertebral column will help in a speedy recovery. You will be able to achieve a full return to routine activity.
Q: What kind of traumas can lead to back spasms?
A: Every high-impact event can contribute to backaches. For example, auto accidents, workplace injuries, sports injuries, lifting too heavy objects, etc. These events may tear muscles and tendons of your back which in turn cause pain. Also, these events can dislodge the spinal column or spinal discs leading further to a very painful condition.
Common Back Spasms Treatment Mistakes
The most common mistake people make while addressing back spasms is bed rest. However, resting could be comforting but it alone cannot improve the condition. Even, it may hinder recovery. Another common mistake is self-medication. Many of us reach out to over-the-counter painkillers instead of going for a diagnosis. But, these painkillers will only mask the symptoms, that too for a few hours only. The painkillers can help you to feel comfortable while you are healing but many of the back spasms problems do not heal by themselves. Also, it is seen many times that people ignore the pain for too long.
Nevertheless, back spasms do heal on their own in a week or two. But, avoiding the diagnosis for too long can only lead to worsening of the problem. Additionally, several people see spinal surgery as a quick fix for their back spasms problem. But, it is best to opt for surgery after proper diagnosis and consultation from a surgeon. Many of us rely on imaging results like MRI or CT scans ignoring the professional’s advice. This reliance on imaging results may lead to permanent damage to the affected area. Imaging results can show a perfect spine while you might be suffering from terrible pain. So, it is worthy for us to leave the diagnosis to professionals only.
10 Tips On How To Get Rid of Back Spasms
There are several ways to manage back spasms. Even, you can manage it at your home. We are sharing here a few effective tips for back pain management at home.
We lie down to rest without being aware of our pose. There are different sleep poses for better sleep. But, the beneficial pose for people with back pain is to lie on your side. You should avoid lying on the back since it is already hurting. So, sleep on either of your sides and place a pillow between your knees. Placing a pillow is important to avoid straining lower back muscles. Also, it helps to keep the spinal cord straight. This posture is highly advantageous for people with back spasms.
Be Aware of Your Posture
This is one of the most important parts of pain management. A good posture is one of the efficacious ways to avoid back spasms. You should avoid slouching while you are sitting. Slouching increases the load on every segment of the back. It especially affects the middle back. Also, when you are standing, try keeping body weight distributed between both your legs. Additionally, do not stand with bent knees otherwise your lower back will suffer severely. Few people slouch even when they are standing. And, slouching is the best way to tear your back muscles and bring harm to the spinal cord. So, avoid slouching in any position.
Do Not Rest to Avoid Back Spasms
A large number of people believe that resting is the best way to treat back pain. However, it is far from the truth. Staying in bed more than you usually do only to avoid back pain is one of the worst decisions you take. Lying down for a bit for rest is not harmful, but hours and days spent lying down will cause stiffness of muscles. So, indulging yourself in your routine activities is the best way to avoid stiffness of back muscles. And, it will decrease recovery time dramatically.
Restful Night Sleep
A restful night’s sleep is the key to efficient pain management. It helps relaxing back muscles. Also, it will increase the body’s natural process of repairing. A restful night’s sleep is essential for the maintenance of muscles. It will make you feel less stressed. And, your back will feel less sore after a restful sleep.
Avoid Static Posture for Prolonged Time To Avoid Back Spasms
One of the primary reasons for back spasms is maintaining a static posture for long hours. Three static posture mistakes ruin your back muscles
- Sitting for long hours or standing for a prolonged time. Both of these postures increase the strain on your back muscles. Also, they increase the pressure on facet discs. So, it is important to walk for a little distance to relieve the pressure on back muscles and spinal discs.
- Misalignment increases the risk of developing spine diseases. To avoid this, you should keep your neck, shoulder, and back in alignment. It is efficient for avoiding back spasms.
- Also, rotating your activities is of importance when it comes to the management of back spasms. For example, if you are standing for a long time, then you can choose to sit down for some time. And, you can go back to standing after muscles are relaxed.
The importance of stretching is not realized by many people. But, stretching is the key to keep your muscles strong and flexible. Also, it improves the health of muscles and joints. Nevertheless, stretching also increases the blood circulation through which healing nutrients reach speedily to affected areas.
Psychological health is important for overall health. The effective way to avoid stress and anxiety is meditation. It releases the feel-good hormones (endorphins) and elevates your mood. Also, it improves concentration. Additionally, it helps us to effectively deal with strenuous situations. In this way, stress and anxiety will not cause any negative effects on your back muscles.
Perception of Life
Our perception of life can affect our bodies. If we tend to think more negative than positive, the harmonious functioning of the body gets negatively affected. Also, such an outlook will negatively affect psychological health. You will easily fall prey to psychological issues that are bad for those suffering from back spasms.
We are always busy in our life. But, many of us are not efficient in managing our time. And, without proper time management, you will feel stressed all day. The negative effects of stress can make your muscles remain stiff even when you are resting. So, it is important to manage your time properly to avoid back spasms.
Although we live a very busy life, then also we cannot stop our wandering thoughts. Nevertheless, we can effectively deal with it by engaging ourselves in creative activities. The effect of creative activities makes us feel more satisfied. Also, it increases the feeling of being complete. These positive thoughts increase the anti-inflammatory chemicals in our body which in turn relieves our back spasms.
These tips are indeed very helpful for managing our back spasms. However, those of us who suffer from back spasms repeatedly cannot overrule the importance of medicines. But, there are several side effects associated with medications. And, medications are more favorable for those who fall prey to any chronic health conditions. While those of us who do not suffer from chronic health conditions can use home remedies to relieve our back spasms.
Some Back Spasms Home Remedies You Can Try
Let us take a look at a few home remedies to relieve back spasms.
Turmeric is very popular because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It is suggested by orthopedics also as additional support for arthritic conditions. There are several easy ways to include intake of turmeric in your daily life. The easiest way is using turmeric powder. You can simply mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in warm milk with honey. This concoction gives benefits of turmeric powder along with honey and milk. You will get calcium from milk and several anti-oxidants from honey. It is beneficial to drink the concoction a few minutes before going to bed.
Juice of Tart Cherry
Cherries not only contain anti-inflammatory properties but also anti-oxidant properties. Its juice relaxes the muscles which help get relief from back spasms. It will be beneficial to drink a glass of juice in the evening when you are returning home from your workplace.
Green Tea and Ginger Concoction
The benefits of green tea are recognized amongst every one of us. It is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, etc. The benefits of green tea can be doubled by adding ginger to it. Ginger is a root herb that contains several micro-minerals. Also, it is beneficial to reduce the aging effects on our bodies. You can enjoy a cup of this concoction at any time of the day. But, avoid drinking green tea right after meals.
Yoga is a set of stretching exercises to rejuvenate every cell of our body. Its’ postures increase blood circulation and strengthen the muscles. It also reduces the routine stress and helps avoid psychosomatic disorders. It also improves digestion which is important in the management of back spasms. Also, it is also good for the lungs. And, efficient lungs are crucial for relieving the back spasms.
Training Core Muscles
It is very helpful for pain management related to back spasms when you train the core muscles of your body. The core muscles are important when it comes to musculoskeletal strength. Additionally, our back and abdomen have a lot of muscles that support our bodies. The core muscle training will easily elevate the back spasms. Even, people with strong core muscles do not develop muscle aches problems.
The important aspect of hamstrings stretching is commonly overlooked. However, stiffness of hamstring muscles contributes to back spasms problem. It specifically affects the lower back. So, hamstrings stretching for a few times in a day are an effective way to relieve the back spasms.
A most common cause of back spasms is an unhealthy lifestyle. Those of us who find it unpleasant to rise early in the morning and do some exercises are at higher risk. However, lifestyle is not limited to doing exercise daily. It also includes eating healthy, limiting caffeine, avoiding to smoke and drink, thinking positive, and relaxing. All these factors of lifestyle contribute to the management of back spasms. Also, it is important to lead a healthy and happy life without putting much effort. Thus, gradual changes in lifestyle are more effective in avoiding back spasms than anything else.
When To See a Doctor?
Many of us can manage back spasms at home on our own. But, there are certain limitations to everything. And, we cannot overlook the importance of medical advice in confidence to treat it ourselves. So, let us take note of a few things that tell us to seek medical advice for back spasms.
- It is good for us to see a doctor as soon as we develop back pain after a car accident or falling off a ladder. Anything like these can cause trauma which further leads to chronic conditions of back spasms.
- If you are experiencing severe pain at night which is not allowing you to fall asleep. Or, the severity of the pain wakes you up even from a profound sleep, then seeing a professional will benefit you.
- If you are experiencing back spasms along with numbness in limbs. Or, you are experiencing back spasms along with pain in the abdomen then seeking medical help is very essential.
- If you are feeling back pain along with numbness in the buttock, upper thighs, genital area, or groin area. Then, it could be due to some serious condition that needs medical attention.
- There are several neurological symptoms associated with back pain. For example, tingling experience in extremities in the leg, arm, or foot. These symptoms denote nerve damage. So, medical diagnosis reduces the risk of developing chronic health conditions.
- There is a need for medical advice when an unexplained fever is associated with back spasms.
- Sudden pain in the upper back region needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional.
- There also some back spasms symptoms which need immediate medical attention. Such as, difficulty in passing urine, acute constipation, progressive weakness in legs, trembling of legs or arms. These symptoms associated with backaches could be the cause of underlying disease.
The people of every nation experience back spasms now and then. It is the most common type of body ache which goes away on its own. There are several people who either take this problem too lightly or too seriously. Both of these attitudes towards any ailment are considered bad. Since such an attitude never helps in finding a solution. Also, such an attitude is often based on misconceptions that are far from the truth. So, a guide to interpreting everything about back spasms is very useful.
This would help those interested in understanding first instead of reacting first. Many people consider developing better understanding through a guide. This is because guides are written after intense research. Therefore, it is a reliable source to understand the pros and cons of anything. And, back spasms are the most common problem due to which understanding the facts become more significant.
Not to Trust Online Platforms Always
Online platforms are filled with information on back pain. Unfortunately, many of these platforms offer the wrong knowledge to the readers. And, we also need to stop believing in everything on the internet. Instead, we should develop a mindset to properly understand first then only decide if our problem needs professional advice or not. Staying healthy is our priority which can be possible if we start to gain knowledge. A complete guide for back spasms can help you to measure every aspect of the problem. Also, it will help you to understand the reasons for your back spasms. And, different effective ways to treat it at home only. Nevertheless, it will also help understand when to seek medical help for your back spasms treatment.