Few kinds of pain can affect your life quite as much as back pain. In fact, research shows that it is one of the most common causes of disability in the United States, causing thousands of people to miss work each year. One common back pain trigger that can leave you feeling completely debilitated is a back spasm. Today, we’re going over the basics of back spasms and covering a few treatment options to help you get relief.
What Is a Muscle Spasm?
Muscle spasms (also known as charley horses) are spontaneous, abnormal muscle contractions that occur throughout the body, causing discomfort that can range from slight stiffness to severe pain and the inability to move. Pain can be especially severe in the back, as there are a number of surrounding nerve roots that may be triggered. Typically, spasms in the back are caused by muscle weakness, injury (including muscle strains), or a muscle imbalance. Depending on the extent of the injury and where it occurs, a spasm may take between a week and a few months to fully heal.Here are some ways to help relieve the pain so you can get back on your feet again.
1. Laser Therapy – For fast, temporary relief, try laser light therapy belts for back muscle spasms. Using clinically proven low-level laser technology, these revolutionary wearable devices can provide temporary relief of minor muscle and joint aches, pain and stiffness, and muscle spasms. The best part is that you can wear one while you’re relaxing, watching TV, or just hanging out at home, all without any known adverse side effects or a prescription from your doctor.
2. A Hot Bath – The key to any muscle spasm treatment is to find ways to relax the spasmodic muscles so they go back to normal. One great way to do this is by taking a warm bath with Epsom salts. If you don’t have a bathtub, you may also consider warming the muscles with a heating pad to enjoy similar effects.
3. Take a Muscle Relaxer – While routinely taking muscle relaxers can bring some risks and side effects—including everything from drowsiness to serious damage to the liver—occasional low-dose usage may help you treat muscle spasms. These prescription medications can reduce pain, increase mobility, and reduce skeletal muscle spasms so you can get back to your normal routine. Just make sure to be aware of all the side effects and closely follow the instruction of your physician before taking a muscle relaxer for this purpose.
4. Stretch and Massage – One of the simplest ways to immediately address muscle spasms is to gently stretch and massage the muscle to help stop it from contracting. Stretching and massaging using a tennis ball or foam roller is an excellent way to get some effective relief at home. If it’s persistent or tends to recur with certain activities, you may want to seek professional massage therapy. This will help increase blood flow to the area and will force the muscles into a state of relaxation, which can stop the muscle from contracting.
2. Rest and Ice – Using the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method of treatment may help you experience relief from muscle spasms relatively quickly. The rest and ice components are especially important to your treatment plan. Rest can certainly help by slowing the extent of the injury and giving the body some time to heal. However, prolonged bed rest (lying down for long periods of time) can worsen your condition, so be careful about spending too much time in bed. Using an ice pack or cold compress will help soothe spasms by reducing swelling. Applying ice for 15 or 20 minutes a few times a day can help.
No matter how persistent your spasms may be, remember to be patient. There is no cure for muscle spasms, but you can certainly make them a whole lot more bearable with these excellent treatment options.