written by: Diana Cooper
• edited by: BStone
• updated: 5/2/2010
Muscle spasms in the back can be painful. Learn what some of the common causes are and find natural measures that can help provide relief for muscle spasms.
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Muscle spasm is a condition in which muscles are painfully contracted. It is the most common cause of back pain. An awkward movement (such as bending over to tie a shoe, suddenly twisting to face another direction, lifting a heavy object incorrectly, or coughing forcefully) can cause severe muscle spasms in the back. Other causes include overusing muscles, inactivity, injury to the back, nerve compression, and a mineral deficiency.
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Natural Relief for Back Spasms
Gentle stretching is an effective way to relieve muscle spasms in the back. It pulls the contracted muscle and improves blood flow to the affected area. If your back spasm is caused by an injury or some other medical condition, consult with your doctor first.
Start off slowly and gradually increase your stretches as your body loosens up.
The following is a common stretch that can help provide relief for back spasms:
Lie on your back (either on the floor or a firm mat) with your right leg bent (foot flat on the floor) and your left leg extended straight out. Using your arms, pull your right bent knee toward your chest while keeping your back and left knee pressed against the floor. Hold for a few seconds. Lower your right leg back to its starting position. Relax a moment. Repeat (with the right leg) 4 times (total of 5). Afterwards, do the same using your left leg.
Moist heat improves blood circulation and can help relieve muscle spasms in the back. Take a hot bath/shower or apply moist heat (such as a hot water bottle or a wet towel) to the affected area for 20 minutes.
Massage the affected area for 20 minutes several times a day using one of the following (use only small amounts at a time):
Add 3 drops of birch, 3 drops of chamomile, 3 drops of rosemary, 3 drops of wintergreen, and 8 drops of lavender to 1/2 ounce of carrier oil (such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, or almond oil).
Add 5 drops of lavender, clary sage, or sage to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
Mix cayenne powder (the hotter the better, about 100,000 heat units or more) in some olive oil to form a paste (a bit wetter than paste). Cayenne relieves pain and increases blood circulation
Drink one of the following herbal teas to help muscle spasms in the back: