Understanding Back Spasms
Spasms are essentially muscle tensing or contractions that cannot be controlled and can occur in almost any muscle in the body, but they are most common in the muscles which run along the skeleton. There are several causes of muscle spasms, the most common of which is dehydration. Spasms are the bodies natural defense against further injury being caused, this does not mean that they are by any means something to ignore.
For countless people, muscle spasms occur on a rare to moderate basis. It is when these spasms become chronic and/or frequent that medical attention must be sought. If the muscle spasms are accompanied by pain then that could be an indication of a more serious issue. If back spasms or back pain affect you or someone you know, you are not alone.
Back issues impact about 80% of the U.S. Population, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Thankfully, there are things that can be done to relieve muscle spasms. They range from at home to medical treatments and can be used for mild to severe spasms. Always remember to check with your medical professional before undergoing a treatment.
All neuromuscular interactions require magnesium in order to occur. There is a reason why magnesium is known as the "spark of life," it is necessary for most functions which happen on a biological level, this includes cell building and replacement. It will treat your muscle pain in three ways: By activating enzymes which transport energy, by helping nerve signals to transmit, and by relaxing muscles.
Magnesium will work with B-complex vitamins to activate the enzymes which utilize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Without the energy that is produced by these enzymes, the muscles would not be able to move or function. Having a proper magnesium intake allows the muscles to move as they are intended to.
Though calcium is necessary for the transmission of brain signals, it is magnesium that regulates the communication of these nerves. If your spasm are caused by nerve issues, taking magnesium can lessen the effects of the spasm. Think of it as a scrambled TV channel. When you add magnesium the picture becomes clearer.
Magnesium actually aids in the relaxation of muscles. If too much calcium builds up on the muscles it form lactic acid which will make muscle movement painful. Magnesium counteracts the lactic acid and restores muscle function.
This one seems kind of obvious, but so many people are some overcome by their spasms that stretching and exercise get overlooked. It is important to remember not to over stretch as this can do serious damage to the muscles. Each stretch should be held for 30 seconds then released and can be repeated as needed.
The stretches need to involve the muscle which is having the spasm. For the back this may involve bending to touch your toes, for leg spasm place your foot against a wall and touch just The workouts do not need to be intense, in fact, they should be light yet effective. A lot of yoga and aerobics routines will provide a nice balance of exercise without over working your muscles. Also, consider water exercises if walking or standing is painful.
3. Heat and/or Ice:
It seems that a lot of people have an opinion about which works better for back relief. Ultimately, it is a personal decision. Personally, I like to alternate between the two, but either is fine. Your doctor may suggest one over the other, depending on the cause of your spasms. There are some studies which suggest that while both will relax muscles and alleviate pain, heat may be more beneficial.
It is beneficially to at least try the different ice and hot treatments to see which one works better for your pain. There are two ways to use either heat or ice. The first is through a heated water bottle, ice pack, heating pad, etc... The other method is to use a cream. Once again, this is personal preference but should be explored.
People once thought that resting your back was equivalent to weeks in bed. Modern medicine now knows that this is not the case and that this much rest can cause your muscles to stiffen and actually weaken the muscles. This being said, roughly 48 hours is a good guideline, especially after a minor injury.
When the back doesn't have to work for a few days the tissue and roots get a chance to heal. Notice this does not say you have to sleep. It is about rest, not sleep. So, if you want to rest on the couch while paying bills or whatever you do, this is fine. It is also okay to get up and use the bathroom if your back is not in serious pain. The point is that all the physical stuff needs to be put on hold.
1. Chiropractic Alignment:
Really there is no one better to handle your back issues than someone who is trained to handle your back issues. If heat, exercise, and rest are not doing the trick then your spasms could have a more serious cause. A chiropractor is able to diagnose and treat your condition. They also have the ability to prescribe medication if it is needed.
Going to a chiropractor does not need to be your first step, but when back spasm are severe or when nothing is working there should be no hesitation, after all you only get one back it is better to take care of it. Even without prescribing medication they can suggest other techniques Back spasm can range from mildly annoying to outright painful. They do not need to be part of your life when there are so many treatments available. Advancements in medical science are making it possible for back spasm sufferers to finally get the relief they need, want, and deserve.
Top 5 Back Spasm Products
If you are looking for products that can help treat back spasm, here are 5 popular products on Amazon.com. Our Best list is based on reviews posted by Amazon customers. We first narrowed our list by selecting products with 4 or more stars. Then we ranked our list by those products receiving the most reviews.
#5 Chattanooga Theratherm Digital Moist Heating Pad
The #5 product on Amazon is the Chattanooga Theratherm Digital Moist Heating Pad, it has 4 stars with 960 customer reviews.
The Chattanooga Theratherm Digital Moist Heating Pad delivers intense, moist heat therapy which provides temporary relief from pain associated with arthritis, muscle spasm and inflammation caused by strain and tension; intended for use on the back, shoulder, wrist, stomach, knee or foot. Included is a flannel covering which draws moisture from the air and as the heating pad temperature rises, the moisture is released onto the skin.
It features an easy-to-use digital hand control that allows you to program and monitor the temperature and treatment time. Control the temperature between 88 and 166 degrees Fahrenheit (31 and 74 degrees Celsius) and select the duration between 1 and 60 minutes. A lockout mode protects against inconsistent changing of the control settings throughout treatment. UL and cUL classified.
#4 Pure-Wave CM7 Cordless Massager
The #4 product on Amazon is the Prospera Electronic Pulse Massager, it has 4 1/2 stars with 1,301 customer reviews.
The Pure-Wave CM7 features a dual motor design, percussion and vibration motors. Both percussion and vibration motors can be specifically adjusted to your desired intensity. The CM7 model includes 6 different massage sticks to address different areas of the body and unique styles of massage. Soft, Medium or Firm. Cordless rechargeable massager includes charger and attachments. 6 attachments total (3 thread on percussion side, 2 slip snugly over percussion side, and 1 small metal attachment slips over facial vibration tip at handle end).
The variable speed controller allows you to dial into the perfect intensity whilst 6 different massage heads allows you to select the firmness and style of your massage. Take control of those muscle spasms, stubborn knots, tight joints, stiff muscles and cramping legs with Pure-Wave CM7. This model includes a facial vibration motor built into the end of the handle with specially designed facial massage and scalp massage attachments. Pure-Wave massagers are cordless, ergonomic and lightweight for use whenever and wherever you need it.
#3 TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
The #3 product on Amazon is the Trigger Point Performance The Grid Revolutionary Foam Roller, it has 4 1/2 stars with 2,822 customer reviews.
The TriggerPoint GRID foam roller is for anybody who wants to move better. Use the GRID to roll through tight muscles, knots and kinks to reduce soreness and improve mobility.
Studies show that using a foam roller can provide users with benefits such as decreased muscle and joint pain, increased circulation and flexibility, improved range-of-motion, better balance and improved gait.
Regular use of TriggerPoint GRID foam rollers can be beneficial in preventing or recovering from injuries, maintaining and improving mobility and preparing the body for peak performance.
#2 MUELLER Lumbar Back Brace With Removable Pad
The #2 product on Amazon is the MUELLER Lumbar Back Brace With Removable Pad, it has 4 1/2 stars with 3,675 customer reviews.
This premium back brace helps relieve lower back pain from strains, sprains and muscle spasms. Double layer design allows for custom fit and adjustable compression to abdomen and lower back.
Helps provide relief from injuries and strenuous activity to keep you active. Breathable fabric for comfortable all-day wear.
The removable lumbar pad cushions and compresses the lower back for concentrated support. Extra stability is provided from flexible steel supports along the spine.The internal moulded plastic component eliminates brace rolling or bunching, and it is Custom fit with dual, outer elastic tension straps.
#1 Body Back Buddy Self-Massage Tool
And the #1 product on Amazon is the Body Back Buddy Self-Massage Tool, it has 4 1/2 stars with 3,737 customer reviews.
Get a therapeutic massage without hiring a professional by using the Body Back Buddy trigger point massage tool. The Body Back Buddy is one of the most effective trigger point massagers available. This popular design reflects years of feedback from massage therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists.
With 11 uniquely positioned therapy knobs, you can reach any muscle to release it out of contraction or massage it to keep it pliable, which helps reduce muscle injury. Stimulating blood flow to muscles also generates oxygen and nutrients. This aids in faster muscle recovery.
Well that concludes our review. Please note that we aren’t endorsing any of these products. This is just a comparison based on data provided by Amazon. In addition, some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, our website will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Understanding Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramp which is usually caused by muscle spasms is the sudden or forceful compression of one or more of your muscles. When this happens, the muscles in your calf or foot become stiff, tight and very painful. Although this could last for only a few seconds, in some people, muscle cramps can last for longer periods, and makes it impossible to use the affected muscles – this can be very frustrating and irritating. When there is a cramp in the calf muscles, it is often referred to as Charley horses.
Apart from the calf and foot muscles that are commonly affected by muscle cramp, there are some other muscles that are likely to be affected by muscle spasms including, the hands, muscles around the rib cage, the front and back of the thigh, and the abdomen.
Symptoms and Causes
Muscle cramps can affect anybody and comes without warning. Whether you are sleeping or taking a walk, muscle cramp can set it. The question now is; what causes muscle cramp and what are the symptoms?
Besides the sudden and sharp pain that comes with a muscle cramp, one other symptom of a muscle cramp is a visible lump beneath the skin of the affected area. Exercising for long periods of time or engaging in physical labor can also cause muscle cramps. Additionally, below are some causes of muscle cramp you should be aware of:
- Compression of the nerve: when there is compression in your spine, you might feel some cramp-like pains in your legs. This pain is usually made worse as you walk for longer periods of time. You could also feel this pain if you are walking in a bent position.
- Dehydration: if the muscles are dehydrated, you are likely to get muscle cramps. Not only does dehydration increase the risk of muscle cramp, but it also affects the performance of the body and other functions of the body. When you are dehydrated, your muscle tissues tend to overheat faster. The combination of overheating of the muscle tissues and dehydration will contribute to muscle cramps. The best way to know if you are dehydrated is by looking at the color of your urine. If you see that your urine is very dark, it means you are dehydrated, and you should be seeking to drink more water to avoid muscle cramp.
- Lack of muscle flexibility: another cause of muscle cramp is an extremely tight muscle. This can happen when there is an interference with your movements when performing an activity because the muscles are not flexible enough.
- Inadequate circulation of blood: if the arteries that supply blood to your legs are narrowed during exercise, this can produce cramp-like pains in your feet and legs. Some other causes of muscle cramp include insufficient stretching before exercises, muscle fatigue, and mineral deficiency in the body.
Apart from the above causes of muscle cramp, it can also occur as a side effect of some drugs. Some of these medications include:
- Aricept (donepezil), used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
- Procardia (nifedipine), used for the treatment of high blood pressure and angina.
- Tasmar (tolcapone), used for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
Prevention of Muscle Cramps
Now that we know the possible causes of muscle cramp, it is important to know exactly how we can prevent muscle cramp. As noted above, one of the causes of a muscle cramp is the deficiency of some minerals. Hence, it goes without saying that, a sufficient supply of these vitamins and minerals can help prevent muscle cramp. The five (5) best vitamins to help prevent muscle cramp are Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin D and Zinc.
Potassium is perhaps one of the best supplements to help combat muscle cramps. Potassium deficiency does not only cause muscle cramps but can affect your performance level. You can easily get potassium from eating fruits such as bananas and carrots. Other rich sources of potassium include sweet potatoes (especially the skin that contains much of the mineral content), squashes, beets and beet greens, and many kinds of fish.
Magnesium is an electrolyte, and a lack of it can contribute to muscle cramp as well. Some good sources of magnesium include oat bran, pumpkin, halibut, buckwheat, beans, and nuts.
Vitamin D is very vital for the retention of calcium in the body. Most of the calcium that goes into the body from our diets will be wasted without sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D does not only help in absorbing calcium, it is also necessary for absorbing magnesium and other minerals. Some good sources of Vitamin D include exposure to sunlight, almonds, beans and sardines.
Calcium is not only important for healthy bones, but it is also an electrolyte that is crucial for the formation of muscles. Calcium deficiency can affect the performance of the muscles and increase the risk of muscle cramp. Some foods rich in calcium include Soybeans, spinach, kale, turnip and beet greens, and tofu.
Zinc is called an essential trace element for a reason. Zinc can be used for so many things including, treating severe head injuries, treating Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, and Hansen’s disease. There is no wonder then that a deficiency of zinc can also cause muscle cramp. Athletes also use zinc to improve strength and athletic performance. Some sources of zinc include oysters, beef, crab, lobster and breakfast cereals.
Other ways to prevent cramps include:
- Maintaining a decent muscle flexibility
- Boost the circulation of blood to the legs and other parts of the body
- Constantly stretch the muscles
- Avoid dehydration by drinking water at regular intervals.
Well that concludes our article. Please note that we aren’t endorsing any of these products. In addition, some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, our website will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
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