SUFFERING FROM BACK SPASMS?
Back spasms can occur when a muscle is over stimulated by the nervous system, or if a muscle is trying to compensate for a problem in a joint, muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Spasms of the skeletal muscles can also occur due to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. Spasms occur abruptly, are painful, and usually short-lived.
Long term compensations and overuse of these muscles can occur with routine daily activities like shoveling snow, mowing, raking, working out, picking up children, and gardening. Injuries could also be the result of a fall or motor vehicle accident. When muscles are overused to compensate for an underlying problem for an extended period of time the muscle cells run out of energy and fluid and become hyper-excitable, resulting in irritability leading to a forceful contraction.
Particularly vulnerable to these occurrences are muscles that are affected by vertebral subluxations. This is a condition where a bone in the spine called a vertebrae misaligns and puts pressure on the nerves exiting the spine in that area. This condition causes malfunction in cells, tissues, or organs supplied by that particular nerve, which can lead to back pain and back spasms in the skeletal muscles that are being asked to do excessive work. There is acute onset of pain as the muscle contracts. A bulging, tight muscle may be seen or felt underneath the skin where the muscle is located. Most often, the spasm resolves spontaneously after a few seconds, though it may last many minutes or longer. Usually, those affected will feel the need to stretch or massage the muscle involved, thus relieving the back spasm and temporarily resolving the episode until a chiropractic adjustment is available.
Living with back spasms can be debilitating and completely unnecessary. The best strategy to help treat back spasms, and a myriad of other back and health problems, is to see a qualified chiropractor. One of the basic foundations of chiropractic care is “vitalism” – recognizing that the human body has an innate ability to heal itself, called innate healing intelligence, and does not rely on symptom treatments like drugs or surgery.
Risk of back spasms are increased in people who have:
- Subluxations (vertebral misalignment causing nerve pressure)
- Dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalances
- Weak/inflexible muscles along the spine
- Weak stomach muscles
- A pelvis that tips forward more than normal
- Tight hamstrings
- Poor posture
- Work in a hot or humid environment
- Decreased muscle mass
- Diabetes, nerve, liver, or thyroid disorders
If you suffer from back spasms, you do not have to resort to drugs or injections with dangerous side effects to relieve your pain. Not only can these become habit forming, but they only momentarily treat your symptoms. An effective treatment for back spasms is to visit a chiropractor. We can analyzes your health history, examine your skeletal system, and provide recommendations to not merely relieve your symptoms, but to cure the root cause of your problem. Chiropractic adjustments align the spine and relieve pressure on the nervous system, restoring normal motion to the spine and allowing the body to heal. This also improves the function of the muscles and increases blood flow throughout the body, replenishing fluid in the muscles and relieving muscle spasms.
If you are in the midst of a back spasm, some simple actions to take for immediate relief are to: 1) stop what you’re doing and gently massage the area in pain, 2) rest the area, but make sure to keep some motion in the muscles to prevent stiffness, 3) gently stretch the affected area to lengthen the muscle, but stop if you feel pain, and 4) see your chiropractor as soon as possible.
PREVENTION OF BACK SPASMS
As with any health condition or disease, prevention is the key to skeletal muscle spasms. So, even if you’re not experiencing back spasms, following these simple tips can help avoid them:
- Get your spine adjusted by a chiropractor
- Stay hydrated
- Strengthen your core muscles
- Always stretch before any strenuous physical activity
- While sitting, practice sucking in your belly and rotating your pelvis slightly up. Keep your head back, with your ears over your shoulders, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This posture will keep your spine in proper alignment. Do this every hour you’re sitting, holding the muscles tight for several minutes.
- Take micro-breaks at least once per hour
- Sit in chairs or car seats with good lumbar support
- Support your back while bending or lifting
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled, supportive shoes
- Maintain an optimal weight
- Quit smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to your lower spine, causing the spinal discs to degenerate.
- Get vitamin D from daily sun exposure which helps keep your bones, including your spine, strong