What Causes Muscle Spasms


Most people who develop acute back pain, but have not had a back injury, are usually told they have muscle spasms. While they may indeed have muscle spasms, that is not the primary problem with their back, as they find out when muscle relaxing medication does not help or does so only temporarily. If the medication works at all, the relief usually disappears as soon as the medication wears off leaving the individual with the same back pain.

Back muscles do not just “spasm” for no apparent reason. Muscle spasms are usually triggered by a joint pinching in the spine. The spinal joints contain large numbers of pain nerve endings. When these nerve endings are stimulated by pinching of the joint, they reflexly trigger muscle guarding or “spasm”. It is thought that this mechanism serves to “lock” the spine to prevent further movement and tissue damage. While this mechanism may protect the spine when it is injured, it can be a problem for spinal joints that gradually displace and pinch because of factors such as imbalanced posture.

Chiropractic manipulation has proven to be an effective treatment for muscle spasms, as it treats the actual cause of the spasm. Dr. H. Thabe, a German medical doctor, reported in the medical journal Manual Medicine the results of tests of several treatments for muscle spasms. Spasm or abnormal muscle activity was determined by EMG, a highly accurate test of muscle activity. Chiropractic manipulation was the most effective treatment, relieving muscle spasms to a greater degree than injections of medications.

As many back spasm patients have found, chiropractic treatment is often the most effective and lasting treatment.

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