Why Am I Prone To Back Spasms?

back spasmsOne of the first questions you may ask yourself when you suddenly and without warning go into a back spasm is, ‘why am I prone to back spasms’? Knowing the answer to that may help you prevent the spasm and avoid the annoying and sometimes excruciating pain that comes with them.

Back spasms are caused by a spontaneous and painful contracting or tightening of the muscle. Usually occurring in the lower back area, spasms are often felt after sudden movement when the back is twisted or bent or after prolonged periods of sitting.

Back Spasms And Fight Flight

Back spasms are actually a defense used by your body to protect an injured area by limiting activity in the tissue. Existing inflammation of the nerves or muscles can suddenly bring on spasms too as can nerve impingement.  Pregnancy can also create problems with the growing uterus putting pressure on the sciatic nerve that passes under it, causing pain and spasms.

Injury usually occurs because of trauma. Accidents, violence, sporting injuries and heavy lifting can all damage the back. Repetitive strain back pain is the result of small recurring traumas to the same area.

When injury occurs, spasms may be brought on by nerve damage or inflammation and should disappear as the healing process starts to take place. Improving posture and general fitness, losing weight and living a more active lifestyle can lessen the chances of back injury and resulting back spasms.

Slouching when sitting and rounding the shoulders can create back problems, as can improper lifting techniques, so assessing general posture and daily activities can go a long way to reducing the likelihood of back spasms occurring.

Aging brings on degenerative conditions such as degenerative joint disease and facet syndrome. Both are types of osteoarthritis and mainly caused by wear and tear. A degenerative condition that brings on a muscle spasm is usually quite serious and signifies severe deterioration of discs, bones and vertebrae. Trapped nerves caused by disc deterioration and ensuing pinching of the nerve roots, known as slipped or herniated disc can bring on sudden agonizing spasms.

Back Spasms In The Night

Poor sleeping posture can create back strain so making sure the mattress is firm and supportive and using appropriate pillows which give the head and neck the correct support will decrease the chance of back pressure and damage when sleeping. Using body pillows to support the back and knees can bring relief when lying on the back and side and prevent twisting or arching of the back.

Oxygen deprivation or ischemia is another common reason for muscle spasm occurrence in the back. Similar to the process that occurs when continual muscle use creates cramps, a limited blood flow to the back muscles creates oxygen deprivation and the resulting muscle spasm, or ischemic cramp occurs. It is enormously painful but will disappear once circulation improves and oxygen is restored to the affected area.

Back spasms are a warning signal that there is an underlying problem. Resolution may be as simple as making posture and lifestyle changes, wearing more suitable footwear to lessen back strain or losing weight and improving fitness.

Improving the abdominal muscles and strengthening the back with appropriate exercises will diminish the chances of back pain occurring and improve back flexibility. Wearing a back brace will protect the back if heavy lifting is a regular occurrence.  If spasms continue it is important to seek medical advice, as there may be a more serious underlying condition.

Consider the above and evaluate why you are prone to back spasms. Make the changes you can to avoid painful spasms in the future.