Muscle spasms can consist of slight twinges or unrelenting, excruciating cramps that send patients to the emergency room in severe pain. Like most other symptoms in the body that are out of the ordinary, muscle spasms are often a warning sign pointing to one of a number of different conditions. Board-certified spine surgeons in Beverly Hills share what you need to know about muscle spasms.
When a person engages in exertion that is above and beyond his or her normal activity level, muscle spasms may occur. The contraction is the body’s way of protecting the muscles from injuries such as sprains or strains. The pain should be heeded as a signal to stop exercising or working and rest the affected area. Ice applied for 10 minutes every hour for the first 24 hours can help alleviate discomfort, and heat can be used in addition to ice after the first day. Massage is often helpful, and in cases of more severe pain, muscle relaxants may be prescribed.
Underlying Spinal Conditions
People who are experiencing chronic, intermittent muscle spasms in their backs may have an underlying issue that is producing the symptoms. Conditions along the spinal column may be causing the surrounding muscles to contract because the pain that develops from the vertebral dysfunction often sends signals to the muscles that spasm in an effort to protect the damaged portion of the spine. The remedies used for sprains and strains often offer temporary relief, but if the condition itself is not corrected, the spasms will continue to return.
Facet joint osteoarthritis often precipitates painful muscle spasms. The disintegration of the cartilage that supports the facet joints and the reduction of synovial fluid that surrounds the structures cause friction during movement and subsequent pain and stiffness.
A herniated disc can cause pain that results in contraction of the surrounding muscle tissue. The vertebral discs are gelatinous cushions that rest between each vertebrae and keep the bony elements from grating against each other. When a disc bulges, or herniates out of the natural line of the spinal column, discomfort can occur in the disc space or due to the compression of nerve roots by the displaced tissue.
If your muscle spasm is caused by a more serious underlying condition, it’s imperative you consult with a trusted spine surgeon to review your diagnosis and your treatment options. Call The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation today. The path to a pain free life starts here.