Upper back muscle spasms can occur at any time without any warning. Age can be a common cause of this condition, while certain underlying disorders may also cause the same.
As mentioned, the condition of upper back muscle spasms have a sudden occurrence, but for most people, the symptoms persist and worsen with age. As you must be knowing, spasm refers to an onset of sudden contractions of muscles which occur involuntarily. These contractions are often painful. Apart from age, there could be several factors which are responsible for causing muscle spasms.
The most common causes of back muscle spasms include strain on muscles, and injury to the back during sports or due to an accident. Multiple sclerosis, formation of tumors near the spastic muscles, infections, and nerve irritation are known to be the less common causes of this condition. In some people, deficiency of essential nutrients in the body, has also been found as one of the causes.
For instance, marathon runners often suffer from painful and severe muscle spasms in upper back and neck. This could be due to the absence of essential electrolytes in their body. Being overweight, or sitting and sleeping in an improper posture could also be in the list of the causes. These involuntary muscle contractions are a result of the dislodging of one or more discs in the back. When the disc dislodges, it butts against a nearby ligament, resulting in muscle contraction or spasm.
People who are considered to be in a high risk category to suffer from conditions such as this one are those:
- with medical disorders such as mentioned above
- with tight hamstrings
- with muscles along the spine that are weak and low on flexibility
The back pain that occurs at the spasm site, might radiate to other regions of the back, by traveling through nerve pathways. Most people come up with a symptom of an inability to rotate or move their spine, when they have muscle spasms in the back. Due to obvious reasons, the pain becomes more intense with movements such as walking, running, etc. In some cases, even minor movements of leg and arms may aggravate the pain.
Flare-up of spasms may be addressed to by the use of heating pad. The warmth helps relax the muscles and reduce the pain. Also, soaking in a hot tub or getting a hot shower helps. A back massage is considered one effective way to relax the muscles and manage the pain temporarily.
At the doctor’s, the patient would be treated with muscle relaxant medications to stop the spasms. Acetaminophen is a common pain reliever that is prescribed. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed to deal with swelling thus, easing the pain; ibuprofen or naproxen are the common drugs. Experts have noticed that pain from chronic back spasm can be relieved by administrating low dosages of tricyclic antidepressants.
While the recovery is in progress, patients must refrain from sports and other kinds of activities which may make the condition worse. Once the spasm has started to subside, patients may consult their doctor for some stretching exercises. Yoga is considered as one of the safest and effective exercises which help to keep the back muscles relaxed, loose and free of spasms. When you do start your back stretching exercises, never forget to warm up appropriately. Most spasms also occur because people ignore the need to warm up before going for any workout.
Upper back muscle spasms which are a manifestation of injury or muscle strain, do not raise much of a concern, and they subside with a few simple self-care measures. However, when there is an underlying medical condition that is driving the occurrence of the chronic muscle spasms, then there are all reasons to worry about. So, when back spasms are persistent and worsening with time, one must consider paying a visit to the doctor to fix things before they get too worse.