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Muscle Strain / Muscle Spasm

When the facet joints or certain other structures in the spine become injured or inflamed, the large back muscles can spasm and cause low back pain and marked limitation in motion.

An episode of lower back pain that lasts for more than two weeks can lead to muscle weakness (since using the muscles hurts, the tendency is to avoid using them). This process leads to disuse atrophy (muscle wasting), and subsequent weakening, which in turn causes more back pain because the muscles are less able to help hold up the spine.

Chronic stress can also lead to muscle weakness and back pain. Stress causes back muscles to tighten in a fight or flight response, depriving muscles of energy needed to support the spine.

1 Muscle strains and ligament sprains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Lifting, exercising, or moving in an unexpected way (such as when falling or when in a car accident) can cause these strains and sprains. Injury to the lower back while exercising is called weight lifter's back (lumbar strain). When a person's physical conditioning is poor and the supporting muscles of the back are weak, the lower back is more likely to be injured. Having poor posture, lifting incorrectly, being overweight can cause Low back pain.


Exercising regularly is the best way to prevent low back pain. Muscle strength and flexibility are essential to maintaining the neutral spine position. Weak abdominal muscles cause hip flexor muscles to tighten causing an increase in the curve of the low back. Exercise can help people maintain bone density and a desirable weight and it may reduce the risk of developing two conditions that can lead to low back pain osteoporosis and obesity.

Sleeping in a comfortable position on a firm mattress is recommended. Pillows under the waist and head can be used for support by people who sleep on their side, and a pillow under the knees can be used by those who sleep on their back. Pillows under the head should not force the neck to bend too much.

An unhealthy posture results when the curve is overextended called lordosis or swayback. Proper posture corrects muscle imbalances that can lead to low back pain by evenly distributing weight throughout the spine.Lift correctly helps prevent back injury. The knees should be bent enough that the arms are level with the object to be lifted. The legs, not the back, should be used to lift. Lifting an object over the head increases the risk of back injury. Heavy objects should be carried close to the body.