What to do when you get a back spasm

25th Mar 2016

Ever been caught with a back spasm? Here’s tips on how to deal with the pain.

  1. Stop and rest. Carefully move to a bed or flat surface to remain immobile. Your spasm is a warning sign from your body that you must not continue to move. Stop the activity that triggered it.
  2. Relax the muscles. Try and relax your muscles with slow, controlled breathing. The muscles are trying to keep you from moving. This is to protect your body from injury. As you try to relax, do not allow the muscle to contract more. Instead, try to extend it with gentle bending and extending movements opposite to the contraction. Take it slow and gentle.
  3. Stretch slowly and carefully. Extend the muscle that has the spasm. Do not overstretch it. Move slowly and gradually. By increasing the length of your muscle, you decrease the amount of pain in that muscle. Alternative periods of stretching with rest.
  4. Treat the area. Gentle massage can help soothe the pain and allow the muscle to release. Do not aggravate the muscle or be too forceful. If the pain is still severe, an anti-inflammatory or anti-spasmodic medication may be used. Apply a cold pack to the area 48-72 hours after the spasm. Protect the skin from ice burn with a thin towel. After 72 hours, apply moist heat like a wet towel or warm shower. Make sure you are drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
  5. Targeted exercise. When you can resume normal activity, follow a low back pain exercise routine designed for the back and to prevent the spasm. Prevention is key to long term healing and recovery.

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