What Exactly Causes Back Spasms?

There are many things you can “do to your back,” which can cause problems and pain, but most frequently spasm is a result of inflammation caused by an injury of the muscle itself.

It often happens during a challenging physical activity, when you overstrain and overstretch your muscles. At the moment those injuries occur, you might not even be aware of them, or choose to ignore them; but they can turn into a serious problem and cause severe lower and upper back pain.

It can creep up to you pretty unexpectedly, start out as a simple muscle strain (also known as pulled muscle), and this is why most people refuse to go see a doctor. But, you never know what kind of damage is actually done to the muscle, so be careful or you might end up with a permanent, chronic injury.

SymptomsBack Spasm Location illustration

Depending on the severity of the injury we can divide symptoms into two main categories – light and severe.

Light Spasm Symptoms

You must be careful, if you are experiencing light symptoms, I would still advise you to turn to your doctor, since they can be just an introduction to what will come later. Most common symptoms are:

  • Back pain, of course
  • There are cases where pain will spread to your hips, buttocks and even upper thigh
  • You might experience stiffness stretching all the way from your neck to the lower back
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue are also common

It is not rare for people to experience neural problems combines with musculoskeletal ones. Those neural problems may include:

  • Headache
  • Numbness and tingling sensation down your spine and surrounding structures
  • And, in some cases, they can manifest as sciatica or piriformis syndrome

Heavy Spasm Symptoms

I don`t even need to tell you that you need to visit your doctor IMMEDIATELY in case you feel any of the following symptoms:

  • Affected coordination and inability to maintain proper balance
  • Severe numbness up to the point where you stat losing sensation in your limbs or back/neck
  • Numbness of one side of the body
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control


I`m sorry if I scared you with the previous paragraph, where we talked about heavy symptoms; chances are, you will never experience them.

Muscle strains usually don`t require any special treatment and body heals them naturally over the course of several weeks. But, if you want to speed up the recovery process, I will give you some pointers and tips to help you “hit the ground running.”

The Importance Of Rest. Many people will immediately turn to bed rest, as soon as they injure themselves or experience back pain. Bed rest can be helpful, but only to a certain degree, because if you rest for too long you will slow down your recovery process. Our bodies are designed to move and you should not deny them with the pleasure.

So, when you experience an injury, back spasms, back strains, it is permitted to rest but proceed to exercising as soon as you are capable.

Ice And Heat Therapy. Another vital ingredient in our “back spasm healing formula.” It is advised to apply ice as soon as the injury occurs. You can apply ice anywhere from 10-25 minutes, 2-3 times a day. NOTE: you might not enjoy the couch of cold ice directly oin your skin, so you can use an old t-shirt, to make a “barrier” between your skin and the ice pack.

After you are done with the ice therapy, you can start applying heat. Heat will do an awesome job in relaxing your tense muscles and tendons and bring more blood cells to the problematic area, promoting faster healing.

Exercises And Stretches. As I`ve said before, you need to start with the “active” part of your recovery as soon as possible. We have outlined some exercises in our previous article, you can take a look here: Back Pain Exercises For Lower, Upper Back And Neck.

When you start getting better, you can take a look at this article 10 Tings You Can To In 1 Minute To Relieve Your Back Pain.

That`s it for today, I leave you with these two advises: if you feel something is wrong, always visit your doctor, and when you lift stuff, be more gentle on your back (use your legs more).


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