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What a muscle spasm in your back might mean

A back spasm is the involuntary contraction or tensing of the muscles in the lower back. Back spasm pain can range from infrequent, mild discomfort to severe back pain that limits basic mobility.


Back spasms are usually treated without surgery, though some intervention may be necessary if nerves become too damaged or inflamed.


If you experience a muscle spasm in your back, it’s very important to stop what you are doing and listen to your body. You should avoid repeating the motion or movement that triggered the spasms, and be aware that your body might be trying to tell you of a more serious underlying issue.

Muscle spasms might indicate an underlying problem

Back spasms often occur after any time of injury to the soft tissues of the spine. Muscle, ligament, tendon or disk damage can trigger back spasms. These types of back spasms usually respond to basic treatment and the symptoms abate after a week or two.


If the underlying cause is more anatomical, the spasms will come and go over the course of many weeks, and persist through early treatment. Here, when the muscles go into spasm, they are reacting to the pain and inflammation from the underlying cause.


Some anatomical causes of back spasms include:


• Facet joint osteoarthritis

• Degenerative disk disease

• Spinal stenosis

• Pain from a herniated disc


All treatment of back spasms should be directed at the underlying problem. If the root cause is not addressed, the spasms are likely to recur.


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