A muscle spasm is the body's method of protecting injured structures, or as a means to protect itself from injury. Muscle spasms in the back can be caused by a muscle strain, a sprained muscle, or an underlying condition.
Video presented by Zinovy Meyler, DO
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In discussing back muscle spasms, it's important to remember that sometimes spasms of the muscle in the back is just a spasm of the muscle. When I say that, what I mean is muscles have their own intrinsic protective mechanisms. A muscle has a mechanism by which it senses the extent to which it is extended (or stretched out) or the speed at which it's stretched out. So, if either one exceeds a particular threshold, the muscle reacts by contracting and protecting itself. Essentially it is protecting itself from tearing or damaging itself otherwise.
Those muscle spasms tend to recover within a week to two weeks with appropriate interventions and appropriate rest. What's important to remember is the muscle spasm that doesn't recover or tends to recur with usual methods can be a sign of another underlying problem and it's important to remember that a variety of different things can cause that muscle spasm to recur. For instance, pain stemming from the facet joints - those hinge joints in the lumbar spine - or the disc – either herniated disc or ruptured disc or essentially pain coming from that disc will cause an instinctive contraction of those muscles and, essentially, the muscle spasm. Now, those muscle spasms will tend to come back and some of us will experience that in our lifetime, at times - you sit in a warm bath and those muscles relax only to return as soon as we start moving around. So, those are the muscle spasms that need to be looked into deeper and evaluated for what is actually causing those muscle spasms, what's driving that muscle spasm?
In treating back muscle spasms, it is very important to diagnose the underlying problem. The treatment should be directed at the underlying problem. Unless the underlying problem is evaluated, discovered, and treated, the back muscle spasms will tend to recur.