Leon E. Popovitz, MD
Top-Rated Orthopedic Surgeon
Specializing in Arthroscopic Surgery of the Shoulder & Knee.
For appointments 212.759.4553

The New York Bone Blog

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Why Am I Having Back Spasms?

You know that painful, cramping, tightening feeling that bursts through your muscles. Maybe it’s happened when you’re exercising or doing physical labor, or maybe it comes at random, just here and there. Why are you experiencing these back spasms?

There are a variety of causes for back spasms. If it usually happens during or directly after exercise, lifting, or heavy work, then it may be caused by dehydration, low electrolytes, or insufficient potassium and/or calcium in your system.

If the spasms occur throughout the day, seemingly independent of exertion or activity, it is more likely they are stemming from a back injury or condition. For instance, if you have spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal that protects the spinal cord and its branching nerves), pressure on your nerves can cause these painful back spasms. If you have a herniated disc, that could also cause pressure on spinal nerves, and could result in muscle spasms. The spasms could also be the symptoms of damage or trauma from an accident or sports injury.

In these cases, while muscle spasms can be painful, they could be symptoms of a larger problem, such as spinal stenosis, a herniated or bulging disc, degenerative disc conditions, osteoarthritis of the spine, or a variety of spinal radiculopathies.

Treatment for back muscle spasms can include muscle relaxants, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) such as Tylenol or Advil, cold and heat therapy, physical therapy, and rest.

If your back spasms are joined by any weakness, tingling sensations, numbness, loss of ability or balance, or severe pain, please get immediate medical attention. At NY Bone and Joint, we can accommodate same-day care through our orthopedic and physical medicine urgent care.

Dr. Leon Popovitz and Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, along with their team of best-in-class orthopedic physicians, are known for their exemplary orthopedic surgical skill and best-rated physical medicine and rehabilitation program. This, along with their top in-office physical therapy and long-term sports rehabilitation processes, leads to athletes of all levels returning to their top physical potential. Contact us today to schedule a consult!

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