Back spasms: causes, treatment and what it is (2023)


What are back spasms?

Amuscle crampis when your muscles suddenly and against your will. They may itch, cramp, or contract painfully. The muscles of the upper, middle, and lower back are divided into three types: intrinsic/deep muscles, superficial muscles, and medial muscles. Lower back spasms are more common, but any muscle can twitch.

How common are back cramps?

About 80% of people in the US have had or will have some form of back pain in their lifetime. Unfortunately, back cramps and other back pain are very common.

How do back spasms start?

Back spasms can start without warning, or they can start as a mild contraction that turns into excruciating pain.

Who is most likely to get cramps back?

Athletes, people who lift heavy objects, and people with other types of back pain are more likely to get back spasms.

How do back cramps affect the rest of my body?

Sometimes pain from a back spasm can "radiate." This means that the pain starts in the back but spreads to other parts of the body, such as the legs or hips.

Are back spasms a sign of multiple sclerosis?

No, but back spasms are a symptom of other serious diseases such asgallstonesyankylosan spondylitis.

Are back spasms a sign of labor?

no When you are in labor, you feel the muscles of your uterus contract, not your back. But you can have lower back pain as part of it.backwork.

symptoms and causes

What Causes Back Spasms?

There are a number of possible causes of back spasms:

  • Don't use your muscles enough. If you sit too much, have poor posture, don't move, or rarely use your back or abdominal muscles, these muscles can become weak and cramp.
  • Are you using your muscles too much?Athletes and people who lift a lot of heavy weights can get back spasms. Such activities can cause a muscle strain, which is a tear, and that can cause inflammation.
  • nutritional issues.Back cramps can be caused by not having enough water, potassium, and/or calcium in your diet.
  • Mental/emotional health issues.Anxiety and stress can tense muscles.
  • Trauma.You can hurt your back in a fall or in a car accident.

Sometimes back spasms can mean you have a serious medical condition, including:

  • Epidural abscess.
  • gallstones.
  • Stiff person syndrome.
  • ankylosan spondylitis.
  • kidney stones.
  • kidney infection.
  • Tumor.

You are more likely to experience pain that is similar to a back spasm, but is not actually a back spasm, if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Spinal arthritis.
  • disc prolapse.
  • spinal stenosis.
  • spinal curvature:scoliosisthe lordosis.
  • spondylolysisospondylolisthesis.

Can stress cause back cramps?

Yes. Talk to your doctor about referring you to a therapist who can help you treat your emphasizeAnd fear

Can back cramps cause chest pain?

You should always go to the emergency room if you have it.Chest pain. Back pain can sometimes radiate to other parts of the body, but usually it is the hips or legs.

What are the symptoms of back spasms?

A back spasm may feel mildly like a dull ache or contraction, or it may become so sharp and painful that it is debilitating.

If you notice any of the following symptoms in addition to back spasms, you should see your doctor immediately:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Muscle weakness in your arms or legs.
  • Strange sensations, numbness or weakness on one side of the body.
  • Loss of balance and coordination.
  • Loss of sensation in an extremity/extremities.

How long do back spasms last?

If you overwork your back muscles, you may experience cramping for a few days. In the case of a muscle strain, it can take several weeks.

diagnosis and tests

How are back spasms evaluated and diagnosed?

After talking with you about your symptoms and receiving a list of your medications, your doctor may ask you about your complete medical history. Be sure to mention any trauma to your back. Your doctor can diagnose your back spasms based on the symptoms you describe.

What health care providers evaluate and diagnose back spasms?

You can see your GP about your back spasms. If necessary, they can refer you to a specialist.

What questions might a health care provider ask to help diagnose back spasms?

  • How does the pain feel?
  • Where is the pain?
  • Have you ever lost control of your bowels or bladder?
  • How long do the cramps last?
  • How often do you have back spasms?
  • Any stiffness?
  • Do you feel tingling or numbness in your body?
  • Do you sometimes feel weak or uncoordinated when you have back spasms?
  • What medications do you take?

management and treatment

How are back spasms treated?

Health care providers used to prescribe bed rest for those with back spasms. Such inactivity is no longer recommended. Instead, follow your carrier's instructions for:

  • Ice/Heat:Apply ice or heat to the site of the back spasms. Wrap the ice pack or heating pad in a towel or pillowcase and place it on your skin for 20 to 30 minutes. Then apply again after 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers:Over-the-counter pain relievers, includingParacetamol(Tylenol®),naproxen(Aleve®) the orderIbuprofen(Advil®, Motrin®).
  • The muscle relaxant:Your provider may recommend taking a muscle relaxant such as cyclobenzaprine, metaxalone, or methocarbamol. If you do take them, take them at night (or when you are not driving or operating heavy machinery) and only for 72 hours or less.
  • Physical therapy:Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy, where you can learn relaxation techniques and stretching exercises for your back muscles.

Are there any side effects of prescription medications for back spasms?

Side effects of muscle relaxants include:

  • Confusion.
  • Drowsiness.

Consult the instructions provided with your prescription regarding dosages and when to operate a vehicle.

What kind of health care provider treats back spasms?

Your GP can recommend home treatments, refer you for physiotherapy and prescribe muscle relaxants if necessary.

What happens if I don't get treatment for my back spasms?

Back spasms may go away on their own, but it depends on what caused them. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for your situation.


How can I prevent back cramps?

Back cramps cannot be 100% preventable. But you can help through consistent self-care, including:

  • Elaborate.
  • Sitting with good posture.
  • Cope with stress.
  • Stand up and stretch after 30 minutes of sitting.

Outlook / Forecast

Can back cramps go away on their own?

Yes, but they can also come back.

When can I go back to my normal activities?

They may heal after a few days, or it could take weeks. Talk to your doctor about a recovery plan.

Are there any complications from back spasms?

Although back spasms do not and are not caused by the following symptoms, they sometimes occur simultaneously.

other pains

  • Back pain.
  • Shoulder pain.
  • pain in the arm
  • headache.
  • Hip pain.
  • buttock pain
  • Sciatica.


  • The neck.
  • spine.

Other conditions

  • leg weakness
  • A curved spine.
  • Deafness.
  • Tingle.

to live with

When should I contact my doctor?

You don't have to live with back cramps and other types of back pain. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to get treatment.

When should I go to the emergency room?

Call 911 if you are unable to move due to pain.

Back spasms are sometimes a symptom of a serious medical condition. Contact your doctor right away if you also have any of the following:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Muscle weakness in your arms or legs.
  • Strange sensations or numbness or weakness on one side of the body.
  • Loss of balance and coordination.
  • Loss of sensation in an extremity/extremities.

What questions should I ask my doctor about back spasms?

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • Do my back spasms mean I have a serious medical condition?
  • Should I see a therapist to help me with my stress?
  • Should I try a muscle relaxant?

A note from the Cleveland Clinic

Remember, it's important to stay active even when you're in pain (as long as the pain isn't caused by overuse of your muscles)! Get up and stretch every 30 minutes and exercise three times a week. To relieve pain, take over-the-counter medicines and muscle relaxants, and get a massage. Always discuss your symptoms with your doctor so that you can get the best treatment.

Remember that back spasms are sometimes a symptom of a serious medical condition. Be aware of other symptoms you may have along with them and go to the emergency room if you have tingling/numbness on one side, weakness, or if you lose the ability to control your bowels or bladder. If you're debating whether or not to go to the ER, it's better to go and be told you're not in serious condition than to stay home.

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