Back spasms are far from the most troubling spinal condition, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. If your muscles routinely spasm, it means there is something causing them to perform suboptimally. However, if we know why muscles spasm, we can help understand what’s going on with our spine and how to help it perform as it should. So in today’s blog, we take a closer look at what back spasms are telling you about your spinal muscles.
Your spinal muscles can spasm for a variety of reasons, but they generally occur for one of two two larger reasons:
Because of Overuse – If you are overstraining your spine and your body, your muscles may fatigue and end up spasming as a way to protect against continued stress. Or if a spinal muscle strain or sprain has already occurred, the muscle may spasm because the injury is preventing normal function.
Because Of An Underlying Related Issue – A spinal muscle spasm can be an indication that you have an underlying anatomical issue putting undue strain on the muscle, causing it to misfire. Problems like degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis or a herniated disc can inhibit normal spinal muscle function and contribute to muscle spasms.
If you can pinpoint why your spinal muscle spasms are occurring, it can help you determine the best form of treatment. For example, if overuse is the likely cause, treatment will involve rest, hydration and simple stretching exercises to help strengthen the area while also protecting it from overuse. Spasms caused by overuse and injury are more easily treated because there is not an underlying anatomical problem that needs to be addressed. As your body heals from the stress, the spasms also tend to resolve.
However, if your spasms can’t be traced back to overuse, or they are coupled with intense or radiating pain, you should seek out a consultation with a specialist like Dr. Chang. That’s because treatment will need to focus on the underlying anatomical problem, not the symptoms of the condition, which are the spasms. This will require a diagnosis and individualized treatment plan.
Once your diagnosis has been completed, your specialist will walk you through your treatment plan. Oftentimes this will involve a combination of physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, stretching exercises and hot or cold therapy. For most patients, these conservative techniques prove successful. If after six weeks of conservative care, you’re still dealing with spasms and pain, surgery may be your best bet. Your surgeon can walk you through the specifics of your operation and your expected rehab should it come to this.
So while spasms aren’t all that serious, they also shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re dealing with spinal muscle spasms and back pain, consider reaching out to Dr. Chang’s office today to help put them in the past.