Back spasms are common. They affect 80% of adults at some point in their lifetime. The muscle pain can range from mild discomfort to a sharp and intense pain that limits your mobility. Back spasms can be a warning to avoid certain activities or a symptom of a serious underlying health condition. Regardless of the cause, a chiropractor can help this condition.
Lower Back Spasms Causes
Muscle spasms are an involuntary and uncontrolled shortening of the muscle. These spasms are the body’s warning against injury or a symptom of an underlying health condition.
Muscle Spasms as a Warning
Activities that are more strenuous than you are used to, or that are unfamiliar, can trigger a muscle back spasm. This type of activity strains or injures the soft tissues of the back (ie muscles, tendons, or ligaments). Back spasms can also be the result of exerting yourself without proper hydration or an electrolyte imbalance. These types of back injuries usually heal within a week or two but can benefit from chiropractic care.
Muscles Spasms as a Symptom
Back spasms that last for more than a week or two, or that occur in the same spot but come and go over time may be a symptom of an underlying health condition. This is usually the result of a complication or injury to the anatomical structure of the spine.
These health conditions may include:
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Spinal Stenosis
- Herniated or bulging disc
These conditions trigger recurring back spasms as a result of ongoing inflammation and instability in the spine. If you have recurring or worsening back spasms it is important to seek medical attention. If left untreated these conditions can deteriorate, leading to worsening pain and loss of function. Chiropractic care and therapy can aid the body in restoring proper function. This enables the body to heal itself to prevent further injury or slow the progress of a degenerative condition.
Back Pain Symptoms
Back spasms can range from mildly uncomfortable to intensely painful. The pain can begin as a simple tightening sensation in a specific muscle group. Or sometimes the pain can radiate to other parts of the body and affect the surrounding muscle groups.
Physical symptoms might include:
- Difficulty bending or squatting
- Pain that may worsen or get better with rest
- Pain that worsens or improves with exercise
- Popping, cracking, or other noises or sensations when moving after a period of rest
- Numbness, tingling, or pain in the back, shoulders, neck, or hips
- Stiffness in the spine or surrounding muscles
- Pain, tingling, or numbness that radiates down the back of one or both legs
With treatment these back spasms symptoms can improve or be eliminated.
Treating Back Spasms with a Chiropractor
Chiropractic care for back spasms is an increasingly common method of treatment. It is highly effective treatment, patients see relief within the first few visits, and doctors can empower their patients to prevent future pain. Chiropractic care achieves this through a multi-faceted treatment approach. Chiropractors use various therapies to tap into the body’s natural ability to heal and repair itself. Therapies they might use include:
Spinal Alignment Therapy
This is what people typically think of when they think of chiropractic care. Your spine is perhaps the most important structure in your body. It houses the spinal cord and provides a framework for all the structures of your body. When the spine is out of alignment it puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerve bundles. This pressure causes inflammation that leads to pain and nerve damage if left untreated. A chiropractor uses their hands or specialized equipment to move the bones of your spine back into proper alignment. As a result, your nerves are able to heal and return to normal function.
Physical therapy uses a combination of exercise and stretches to restore normal function. When the spine is out of alignment, or you have an injury, it causes some muscle groups to overcompensate. When a muscle overcompensates it causes the corresponding soft tissues to weaken, become stiff, or shorten. These imbalances in muscle strength and flexibility can worsen existing injuries or conditions. A physical therapist will focus on strengthening the weak muscle groups and stretching out stiff or shortened tissues. By doing this, they can help reduce or eliminate your back spasms pain and enable the body to heal itself.
This is a little different from what people typically think of when they hear the words ‘massage therapy’. This will not be like a trip to the spa. It is a deep tissue back massage for the patient that focuses on unfreezing stiff or shortened soft tissues to provide relief. By restoring normal range of motion the back muscles now must adjust to the new freedom of movement. This can sometimes trigger back muscle spasms. These muscle spasms should only last a few hours after the adjustment but can sometimes last up to 24 hours. As your body heals and the muscles adjust to a normal range of motion, the back muscle spasms will become less of an issue.
This style of massage also helps to restore blood flow to affected areas. Increased blood flow promotes healing and will help speed your recovery.
Alternative Medical Treatments
Using traditional Western Medical treatments for back spasms sometimes includes surgery. This is not an ideal solution. Surgery is expensive, is unable to completely restore movement, and comes with a long list of risks and potential complications. Not to mention months of recovery, physical therapy, and prescription pain medications. And unfortunately, surgery is not always able to restore function or reduce pain.
In many instances regenerative medicine can replace surgery as an option for treatment. This treatment uses stem cells and unspecialized cell that can transform into any type of cell in the human body. These cells are present in your body from birth and rush to any injury or damaged tissues to help you heal faster. But as we age the percentage of stem cells to normal cells drops, meaning the body has a reduced ability to repair itself as you get older. This is why children heal much quicker than an older person. With regenerative therapies your physician will inject stem cells into the damaged tissues. Once injected the stem cells will begin repairing and rebuilding the damaged tissue. This will allow you to reduce your pain, improve mobility, and restore lost function without costly surgery.
Lower Back Pain – Muscle Spasms
If you are suffering from back spasms, whether it is a new complaint or a recurring one, speak with a licensed chiropractor. Using their holistic approach to pain relief you can stop your back spasms with chiropractic care.