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How to Stop a Back Spasm

author image Lori Newell
I hold a Master's degree in exercise physiology/health promotion. I am a certified fitness specialist through the American College of Spots Medicine and an IYT certified yoga teacher. I have over 25 years experience teaching classes to both general public and those with chronic illness. The above allows me to write directly to the reader based on personal experiences.
How to Stop a Back Spasm
Take deep, careful yoga breaths when your back goes into spasm. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Back spasms can be debilitating and put you on the sidelines. They may interfere with your ability to work or participate in hobbies. The first step is to find out what is causing your back spasm, since different diagnoses call for different treatments. However, no matter what the cause, there are some things you can do to help control the spasm.

Step 1

How to Stop a Back Spasm
Gently stretch at the first sign of a spasm to help relax the muscles. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Stretch gently at the first sign of a spasm to help relax the muscles. Do not force or bounce the stretch. Just go deep enough to release muscular tension. Try lying on your back and bringing one knee at a time to your chest. Hold each knee gently for several deep breaths. Then place both feet flat on the floor. Lower both knees to one side toward the floor as far as you can without making your spasm worse. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths, and then go to the other side.

Step 2

How to Stop a Back Spasm
Apply heat ie: hot water bottle, heating pad or heat pack. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Apply heat to relax the muscle. Use a heating pad or a reusable heat pack and leave on for no more than 15 minutes. Once the pain from the spasm has subsided, apply an ice pack or ice wrapped in a tea towel to the affected area for up to 20 minutes. If your back spasm is caused by an inflammatory condition such as a disk injury or arthritis, then use ice over heat.

Step 3

How to Stop a Back Spasm
Practice yogic deep breathing. Photo Credit Getty Images/Valueline/Getty Images

Practice yogic deep breathing. When your back begins to spasm there is a natural tendency to tighten up to protect your back. Unfortunately, this can prolong your muscle spasm. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and then exhale slowly and completely through your nose. On each exhale try to consciously relax the muscles in your back.

Step 4

How to Stop a Back Spasm
Close your eyes and use imagery. Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Incorporate imagery. As you exhale and try to relax the muscles, use imagery to let your body know what you want it to do. You can picture your back muscles in a knot that comes untied as you exhale. You can also picture a healing light entering your body as you inhale. Allow the light to warm and relax your back. As you exhale, let go of any holding or tension in your body. You can even imagine the light absorbing the tension, changing color and then leaving your body with the exhale.

Step 5

How to Stop a Back Spasm
Try over-the-counter medications that reduce pain or swelling. Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Try over-the-counter medications that reduce pain or swelling such as aspirin, Tylenol, Aleve or Motrin. There are also non-prescription medications that can be applied topically in the form of creams that produce sensations of heat and cold. In severe cases, you may need to see you doctor for prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants.

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