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Muscle Spasms

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Dear. Dr. Caraotta,

I have been suffering from muscle spasms for years in my lower back and it's really affecting my every day activities from exercising and working to picking up my children. I try to live a fairly healthy lifestyle, and I am trying to cut pop out of my diet. What would you advise to kick this problem to the curb, and why is this happening to me?


Dr. Caraotta's Response

This is actually a very common injury that both men and woman experience especially in the lower region of the back. The most common muscles of the back that spasm originate at the base of the neck and travel down to the pelvic region and they are called the erector spinae muscles. The involuntary tightening or contracting of these muscles can be extremely painful and make it almost impossible for a person to move. A muscle spasm is a way of the body telling us there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Since there are numerous causes of muscle spasms, there are different ways to treat them. The root cause of the muscle spasm must be determined, and then a course of treatment can be set and executed. Here are some of the more common causes and the possible treatment options. There is no guarantee that your case is directly applicable to any of these causes, and I would have to perform a thorough examination to determine what specifically is going on with you.

In many cases this condition can be simply due to the fact that the lower back is affected most while doing everyday repetitive activities that involve bending, pulling, stretching, or twisting. Sudden movements can cause excessive strain on a muscle, thus resulting in the contracting of muscles. It is easy to strain your muscles, especially if you over exercise or over use them.

Trauma from various types of injuries, including past injuries, can be the root cause of spasms in both the neck and the back. Often times the body doesn't fully heal itself the way it should, or people don't seek the proper medical attention that they need, and the injury becomes semi-permanent.

Interestingly enough, stress, tension, and anxiety can frequently be causes as well. Your lifestyle can affect your mind in a way that you have physical reactions to the things going on around you.

Another offending factor can be a poor diet, or an underlying condition that leads to malabsorption of key nutrients. The muscles in the body depend on a great variety of vitamins and minerals that are a part of a well balanced diet.

Below you will find some general things that you could do on your own that could help prevent or ease this condition.

  1. For the first 72 hours following the onset of muscle spasms, use an ice pack for no more than 20 minutes at a time, several times per day. Hot packs should NOT be used until at least 3-4 days after the initial onset. Heat will increase inflammation which will increase the pain and muscle spasms.
  2. Rest and eliminate repetitive activities.
  3. Incorporate mentally relaxing activities into your daily routine, this will help reduce anxiety and stress, allowing the body to decompress.
  4. Regular exercise is important to help strengthen and tone the muscles of the back. Spasms can often be completely prevented when a person takes the proper action to strengthen the back.
  5. A well balanced diet, along with vitamins and herbal supplements will increase the body's ability to heal itself and prevent muscles spasms from occurring. Some nutrients that will help are Calcium and Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamins D, and B-12.

If your problem persists after performing some of the home instructions above, feel free to contact our office for a check-up. We successfully routinely treat many conditions like this.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jacob G. Caraotta