Treating Back Spasms with a Chiropractor

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Chances are that you have experienced a back spasm at some point in your life. It can be an intensely uncomfortable sensation. It may start as tingling or numbness, or a sudden, piercing pain when you move in just the wrong way. The pain may be tolerable or debilitating. Sometimes these spasms seem to come and go on their own with a little rest. However, if the pain is frequent, persistent, or intense, its time to speak with a medical professional.


Back spasms are an involuntary contraction or uncontrolled tightening of a muscle in response to pain, strain, overuse, weakness, injury, or an underlying condition. Depending on the cause of your back spasms, you may experience a variety of symptoms. Because the spine and muscles of the back support the whole body, it is common for back spasms to affect other parts of the body.

Symptoms affecting your musculoskeletal system may include:

  • Pain in the hips or buttocks
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Stiffness in the spine
  • Shoulder or arm pain
  • Numbness, pain, or tingling in the leg or buttock
  • Muscle weakness or strain
  • Curvature of the spine
  • Weakness in the legs

You may also experience neurological symptoms, such as:

  • Numbness, pain, or tingling in the arms, legs, shoulder, or buttocks
  • Sciatica (shooting pain that starts in the back and runs down the back of the leg, can occur in one or both legs)
  • Headache, particularly tension headaches originating in the back on the head

You may have a serious medical condition and should seek immediate medical care if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Balance and coordination issues
  • Loss of sensation in one or more limbs
  • Loss of control of the bladder or bowels
  • Muscle weakness in the arms or legs
  • Pain is accompanied by fever or nausea


Muscles spasms are most common during periods of increased physical exertion – especially if it is more strenuous than you are used to. This might include activities such as heavy lifting, exercising, or playing sports. Back spams are more common if you are poorly hydrated, have an electrolyte imbalance, or underlying condition.

Physical Fitness

Even if you are physically fit there may be gaps in your conditioning that can leave you vulnerable to muscle spasms. These include:

  • Dehydration
  • Low mineral levels, especially calcium and potassium
  • Poor core strength
  • Weak or tight back muscles
  • Tightness in the tendons of the legs, especially the hamstrings

Underlying Conditions

Back spasms can be the result of your body’s response to an underlying condition. These conditions can cause weakness or tightness of the back muscles. Others put pressure on the spine or nerve bundles, causing inflammation and pain.

Conditions that can contribute to back spasms include:

  • Lordosis or scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine)
  • Herniated or bulging disc
  • Spondylosis or spondylolisthesis
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Spinal stenosis

Preventing Back Spasms

Your back is the framework of your body. It is the structure that every other part of your body attaches to. As a result, it is important to take good care of your back to prevent pain and injury. Ways you can prevent back spasms include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight – if you are overweight, even by only a few pounds, it puts additional strain on your spine and joints. If you are underweight you may lack the proper muscle strength to support a healthy spine.
  • Proper posture – Maintaining proper posture helps take stress and strain off of the spine and supporting muscles. If your job requires you to spend a lot of time at a computer or desk consider ergonomic supports or a standing desk. Too much time sitting or laying down can worsen muscle spasms.
  • Regular Exercise – Exercises that strengthen the back and core muscles will help prevent back spasms. Just be certain to speak with your physician before starting a new workout routine. They may have exercises they recommend doing or avoiding to prevent injury based on your current condition.

Chiropractic Care for Back Spasms

While there are other options, many patients decide on treating back spasms with a chiropractor. Traditional medical interventions often include the use of strong prescription pain medications. These medications can be addictive or habit forming. Medication also only treats the symptoms, they do not treat the cause of your pain. Without properly addressing any underlying causes of your pain you risk further injury and worsening back pain.

How Will a Chiropractor Help?

Chiropractic medicine takes an integrated approach to pain relief. It focuses on tapping into the body’s natural ability to heal itself. When the spine is out of alignment it causes muscles throughout the body to overcompensate. This causes imbalances in muscle strength and a tightening of tendons and ligaments. These imbalances can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the spinal cord and nerves in the back. As a result, the nerves become inflamed, causing pain and changes in mobility. If left untreated this can cause permanent nerve damage and loss of function.

At PTBO Chiro, our chiropractor will use a combination of methods to restore proper alignment. This includes drop-table techniques

Chiropractic is a healthcare discipline concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the overall function and health of the patient.

Many individuals suffering from chronic pain are often prescribed oral pain killers, but this remedy does not always provide relief. If this scenario sounds familiar, have you considered visiting a reputable chiropractor? If you’ve never seen one of these professionals before, you will be pleasantly surprised at the number of painful issues they can help patients resolve. In their practices, many chiropractors help patients recover from pain by utilizing drop table techniques. During the middle of the twentieth century, Dr. Clay Thompson, a chiropractor, experienced difficulty adjusting patients’ spines utilizing the technology of his day and went on to create a customized drop table. After obtaining a patent for his new invention, the Thompson Technique was born.

“For many years, patients have been experiencing positive results from drop table techniques. After receiving an adjustment using this method, you may immediately feel better. Your flexibility, strength and sleep will hopefully begin to improve.”

During this method, a chiropractor provides a sudden thrust to a patient’s spinal or pelvic area. As the doctor makes the thrust, the area of the patient’s body being worked on is simultaneously dropped by the table. This technique allows for thorough and less discomforting spinal manipulations.

Analysis of Leg Length

In addition to performing adjustments using the drop table, the Thompson Technique includes an analysis of patients’ leg lengths. Chiropractors believe that nervous system imbalances cause muscular issues. These muscular problems can lead to the appearance of one leg being shorter than the other one. During this step of the Thompson Technique, your chiropractor may thoroughly examine the length of your legs and order x-rays. After studying the findings, your doctor will have a better understanding of the type of drop table adjustments you need. Drop table technique is especially beneficial for adjusting the pelvis or sacroiliac joints. Many times during an exam as the patient is lying down, one leg will look noticeable shorter than the other. Short leg syndrome or leg length discrepancy can be caused by contracted muscles around the pelvis or misaligned sacroiliac joints. The muscles most often involved are the quadratus lumborum, multifidus, psoas, and erector spinae. Often times immediate improvement can be seen in short leg syndrome after a drop table adjustment.

Just as the spine can be adjusted with this method, so can the joints in the hands, feet, arms, and legs. In addition, this is one of the few methods for adjusting a spondylolisthesis. A spondylolisthesis is a condition brought about when one of the lumbar vertebrae slid forward in relation to the segment below. This condition is easily diagnosed by x-ray.

Positive Results

For many years, patients have been experiencing positive results from drop table techniques. After receiving an adjustment using this method, you may immediately feel better. Your flexibility, strength and sleep will hopefully begin to improve.

If you are an athlete, you may reduce your chances of becoming injured during a sporting event. Patients also report a decrease in the amount of aches and pains they experience after these procedures.

Depending on your situation, you might need more than one adjustment to completely eliminate your pain. If you can’t seem to overcome your pain, consider making an appointment with Innovative Pain And Wellness today. Your issue might completely resolve itself after you receive chiropractic treatment. Drop table techniques provide instant relief for many patients, and the benefits of this type of procedure can be life changing.

Is It Effective?

Many studies have shown the effectiveness of treating back spasms with a chiropractor. A 2018 study published in JAMA Network Open weighed the pros and cons of chiropractic care for treating low back pain. The study included 750 active duty military personnel who complained of low back pain. Half the participants received traditional care. This included medication, physical therapy, and self care. The other half received traditional care and up to 12 chiropractic adjustments. After 6 weeks of treatment the patients who received chiropractic care reported reduced pain, less disability, and required less pain medication than the control group. They also reported improved mobility and greater satisfaction in their care.

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