The structure of your lower back is extremely complex. It contains numerous ligaments, tendons and nerves that may be injured or irritated. The lumbar area supports your body, and pain in this area can range from limiting and irritating to chronic and debilitating. When you stand your lumbar area bears the weight of the upper body. When you bend at the waist, your lumbar area plays a major role in the movement. Back spasms hinder your ability to perform these actions.
Causes of Back Spasms
- Muscle Injury
Lumbar muscle spasms may result from muscle strain. Your muscles can be damaged due to a sudden movement during highly physical work or while playing sports.
- Bone Encroachment
Growth or movement of the vertebrae may constrict the spinal cord and nerves resulting in pain that radiates throughout the lower body.
- Lumbar Disc Disease
Nerves may be irritated by age-related degeneration of the outer rings on the discs between your vertebrae. Additionally, the soft part of these discs can rupture and extrude from the outer rings ("herniation") and exert pressure on your nerves and spinal cord. This occurs as a result of the discs drying up, which is a normal part of aging.
Treatments for Back Spasms
- Heat and Ice
The use of hot and cold compresses can help to reduce inflammation and lessen pain for some patients. These compresses should be applied as soon as possible after an injury. You may alternate the hot and cold compresses, applying each for several minutes at a time. This may provide temporary relief but will not fix serious spinal damage.
Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and naproxen can reduce inflammation and stiffness and reduce pain. These drugs can help you to deal with pain, but the underlying problem of spinal damage will remain. Additionally, NSAIDs come with a long list of side effects including an increased risk of bleeding ulcers and fatal heart attacks. These risks are especially great for long-term users, such as those suffering from chronic back pain. Severe back pain may also be managed with more powerful drugs like opioids, but these come with the potential for addiction.
Rest may be helpful for some who suffer from back spasms, but not for others. In some studies, bed rest has been shown to aid recovery whereas other studies have shown that it can make the pain worse. Additionally, excessive bed rest can cause loss of muscle tone and depression.
In both procedures, an epoxy is injected into the vertebrae to strengthen the bone and relieve pain. With kyphoplasty, a balloon is inserted and inflated to restore normal form to the bone before the epoxy is injected. Both procedures come with the risk of cement leaking out of the injection site before it hardens fully. If it leaks into the spinal canal, it can cause more pain and new nerve problems.
- Functional Disc Rehydration
If you suffer from chronic back spasms caused by disc degeneration, this procedure can help your spine to restore fluids to a desiccated disc. Traction and compression are used to replenish the discs. The benefits are a stronger spine and the elimination of back pain. This method is not invasive and is effective for patients of all ages. For additional information on Functional Disc Rehydration, please visit the Request a Consultation at Illinois Back Institute or call 888-959-6822. Our non-invasive treatment method has helped many people overcome neck and back pain issues.
Almost everyone suffers from back spasms at some point, whether from injury or due to aging. The right remedy depends on the cause and the severity of the pain. The good news is that in most cases, your back pain will be treatable regardless of what causes it.