What is the Treatment for a Lower Back Muscle Spasm?

B. Miller

The most common treatment for a lower back muscle spasm is gentle movement, heating pads applied to the area, and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Aspirin and ibuprofen are usually effective at easing the pain of muscle spasms. Once the pain lessens, stretching and exercise can help to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and may help to prevent back spasms in the future. Practicing good posture, both when sitting or standing for long periods of time, is also important.

Good posture could help eliminate lower back muscle spasms.
Good posture could help eliminate lower back muscle spasms.

Lower back muscle spasms often occur when the muscles are overworked or overstretched, often because a person lifts heavy things incorrectly, although simply twisting or bending too quickly can injure the back. Some people get spasms for no reason, and others find that they worsen if they sit in a chair in front of a computer all day. Though identifying the cause is certainly helpful in order to prevent future issues, the most important thing to do is to treat the spasm. If the muscle pain continues to worsen, or the frequency of the back spasms increases, sufferers should visit a medical professional to rule out any more serious spinal problems.

Lower back muscle spasms can occur when improperly lifting a heavy object.
Lower back muscle spasms can occur when improperly lifting a heavy object.

Even though it may be tempting for a person to lie down to relieve lower back pain, this can put more pressure on the lower back and make the spasm worse. Some people find that, if they must lie down, bending the knees can help, though it is best to get up and sit in a comfortable, supportive chair or even to walk around slowly to try to release tension in the muscles. Applying warmth, such as through a heating pad or a hot shower, can also help to relax the muscles and relieve pain. It is also best to take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever as soon as the first twinge occurs; if over-the-counter medication doesn't help an individual, a medical professional may be able to prescribe a stronger muscle relaxant.

To prevent lower back muscle pain in the future, a person should be sure to take frequent breaks at work and not stay in the same position for hours every day. He should get up and move or go for a walk, and strengthen the lower back with targeted stretching and exercises, since muscle spasms are often caused by muscles that are weak and unused. Some people find that yoga is helpful for stretching and strengthening the lower back muscles.

An electric heating pad can be wrapped around an aching back to provide pain relief.
An electric heating pad can be wrapped around an aching back to provide pain relief.

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Discussion Comments


Has anyone had good results using yoga to help with lower back pain relief?

I have been trying to find natural ways to deal with my back pain, and this is something that fascinates me. It sounds like yoga has some great exercises for lower back pain, but I would love to know if this has worked for someone else.


I never used to have problems with my back, but the older I get, the more trouble I have. Part of my problem is sitting at my desk in front of a computer all day long. On the weekends I never get the back muscle pain that I get during the week.

I try to make it a habit of getting up and walking around and doing a stretching exercise, if possible. This does seem to help, but sometimes it is hard to do this every hour.


I try not to rely on medication for pain, and if I have lower back muscle pain, I make an appointment with my chiropractor.

I have found if I see her on a regular basis every 4 weeks, I am have a lot less back pain. The times that I forget to make an appointment, or try to stretch out time between appointments, I end up getting frequent back spasms.


I love to spend time outdoors gardening, but have found if I overdo it, I will have lower back pain. This is usually the first sign that I need to take a break.

For me, nothing feels better than a hot bath to help relax the sore muscles. If my back still hurts I will put a heating pad on it for awhile. By this point I am ready to rest for awhile.

Getting up and moving around doesn't do much to help the pain. If I give my muscles a chance to relax, I am ready to get back to my gardening in the next day or so.

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