You are doing your chores at home like you do every day and suddenly a sharp pain in your lower back forces you to stop in your tracks. You lie down and feel much better after lying down for a little while. This sudden, acute, involuntary pain could be due to a muscle spasm or muscle cramps. It is usually temporary and short-lived and goes off with a little rest. Other symptoms of this condition could also include swelling at the site of the spasm, numbness or tingling sensations and disturbed sleep because of the discomfort or pain. The pain is usually localized.
What Triggers off Muscle Spasms?
One of the most common reasons is inflammation that occurs because of tearing or overstretching of that particular muscle. It often begins as a strain, which seems pretty harmless on its own but it can lead to lower back pain that is so severe it warrants a visit to the hospital. Studies show that most lower back pain episodes are caused by injury to the ligaments or muscles in that area. This can be caused because of a fall or a sudden movement or if you twist when you are lifting something or when lifting something that is very heavy. These movements strain and sometimes tear the muscles. When this happens, the surrounding area becomes inflamed and sore to the touch and the muscles can spasm resulting in acute back pain that makes it difficult to move.
Muscle cramps can also be caused when you do the same motion repetitively for extended periods of time and if you do not keep yourself hydrated while working out or while engaged in any strenuous physical activity. They could also be a symptom for some underlying medical condition such as spinal cord injury, spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal, impaired blood supply, multiple sclerosis or imbalance of electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, potassium or magnesium.
Treatment methods differ depending upon the causative factors as well as the severity of the condition. Seeking prompt medical care is important so that a doctor can first establish what caused the episode and then proceed to treat it appropriately.
If it is brought on by excessively strenuous activity, treatment will entail resting the muscles for a day or two, usually no more than that. Ice or heat applications along with pain killer medications help to cope with the pain if it is intense. However, if it is caused due to some other medical issues, your doctor may recommend that you see the appropriate specialist.