Did you know that about 80 percent of the American population will have back pain at some time in their lives, according to the American Chiropractic Association? Back pain is one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor, and one common source of this pain is muscle spasms. You have probably experienced this uncomfortable feeling before, so you know how painful it can be. Spasms affect muscles in various parts of the body, including the back, neck and legs, leading to many different symptoms. Pain in your back or neck caused by muscle spasms can come on suddenly and intensely and last for days or even weeks. If you suffer from pain of this sort, visit our pain clinic in Spring Hill, where you will receive professional and comprehensive help. Our specialists will be able to determine the source of the pain and offer you effective treatment options. In the meantime, learn more about what back and neck spasms are.
What are back and neck spasms?
A spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle in a specific body part. It can occur anywhere in your body that there is a muscle – even in your eye. The muscle gets hard, tight, and sore, and the spasm ranges in frequency and discomfort level from rare with mild discomfort to chronic with severe pain that makes it difficult to move. It usually causes a sharp, intense pain that lasts for minutes, hours or days.
What are the causes of back and neck spasms?
Both neck and back spasms can occur as the result of an injury, overuse, poor posture, heavy lifting or stress. However, most back muscle spasms happen because of the following reasons:
- Inflammation or any kind of strain or injury to the muscles, tendons or ligaments in the back.
- Anatomical spine problems, i.e.. skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis, which may cause pain and muscle spasms in the back. Additional examples of underlying anatomical issues in the spine include arthritis, a ruptured spinal disk, spinal stenosis, and pain from a herniated disc.
- Weak abdominal muscles combined with weak and stiff back muscles. This combination makes you more prone to spasms than a person with stronger and more flexible abdominal and back muscles.
Neck spasms can be the consequence of many possible causes, such as headache, strain during exercise or dehydration. They can also appear as a result of placing the neck in an unnatural position for a prolonged period of time, e.g., sleeping awkwardly or holding a phone between the shoulder and ear during a phone call. Other less common, but more serious, causes of neck spasms include:
- Meningitis: an acute inflammation that affects the delicate membranes (meninges) that cover the brain and spinal cord
- Cervical spondylosis: a condition characterized by degeneration of the spinal cord
- Cervical dystonia: also called spasmodic torticollis, a painful neurological disorder where neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing the head to twist or turn to one side.
- Temporomandibular joint disorders: called TMJ or TMD, which affect the jaw and the muscles that surround it
- A fracture in the cervical spine
- Conditions that degenerate or put pressure on the intervertebral discs
- Trauma from a motor vehicle accident or fall
As mentioned above, some causes of muscle spasms in the back or neck are more serious than others and they require specialized care. If back, neck pain or spasms affect your daily life or keep you up at night, visit our clinic, where you can find highly-qualified specialists in pain management in Spring Hill.
How are neck and back spasms diagnosed?
Diagnosing the cause of muscle spasms in the neck and back can be challenging. It generally begins with taking a full medical history and doing a physical examination. Don’t forget to inform your doctor about the circumstances under which you first noticed the spasms or anything that happened beforehand, as this information may be very helpful in determining the cause. A doctor may also do X-rays of the affected area or order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT). These scans allow a more complete view of the muscles and other soft tissue, such as tendons, ligaments and blood vessels, which might help to determine possible problems.
How are back and neck spasms treated?
Back and neck spasms may be painful and frustrating, especially when you are a active person. However, it’s important to stay active when you are having muscle spasms because stopping exercising and becoming less active makes the problem worse. Even if stretching exercises are enough to treat many of the minor causes, there are still some conditions for which stretching might not be sufficient. Treatment depends on the cause of the symptoms and includes:
- Medicine, e.g., an anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or a muscle relaxant.
- Ice, which will help reduce inflammation, and heat, which may help improve blood flow. Don’t use heat if you have swelling.
- Physical therapy
- Stress management, for when your neck or back spasms are the result of stress and pain is related to tension
- Injection, e.g., of steroids or an anesthetic, if the above treatment options do not help.
- Surgery to repair damaged discs
- Spinal decompression surgery
Pain clinic Spring Hill – Pain Management & Spine Care
Pain Management & Spine Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Eyad Alsabbagh, is a fellowship-trained Interventional pain management doctor in Spring Hill who provides the highest quality of service to patients suffering from multiple conditions, including narcotics addiction and back pain. He utilizes state-of-the-art technology at his Pain Management Clinic in Brooksville. If you wish to find out more about the treatments we provide, or schedule an appointment in our facility, contact us today.