-- Question: What Causes Muscle Spasms And What Is The Best Way To Treat Muscle Spasms?
Answer: Muscle spasm results from inflammation that occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn. It begins as a muscle strain, which doesn't sound like a serious injury, but it can cause severe low back pain. Many people go to the emergency room each year because of a muscle strain. In fact, most episodes of acute lower back pain are caused by damage to the muscles and/or ligaments in the low back.
Muscle strains are also known as a pulled muscle. When the muscles in the lower back are strained or torn, the area around the muscles can become inflamed. With inflammation, the muscles can spasm leading to severe low back pain and difficulty moving. Lower back pain from a muscle strain occurs most frequently after lifting a heavy object, lifting while twisting, or a sudden movement or fall. The pain is usually localized, meaning it doesn't radiate to the leg. The area may be sore to the touch, the patient usually feels better when resting.
Fortunately, muscle strains usually heal with time in a couple of days or weeks because muscles in the lower back have a good blood supply to bring the necessary nutrients and proteins for healing to take place.
If an episode of low back pain lasts for more than two weeks, the muscles may start to weaken. Since using the muscle hurts, people tend to avoid using them. This process leads to muscular atrophy and subsequent weakening, which in turn causes more low back pain because the muscles are less able to help hold up the spine.
As a general rule, people who are active and well-conditioned are much less likely to suffer from low back pain due to muscle strain, as regular exercises stretches the muscles so they are less likely to strain, tear or spasm. A complete exercise program for the low back should consist of a combination of stretching, strengthening and aerobic conditioning.
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