Posted 4/10/2008 8:55 AM (GMT -7)
My first suggestion would be to make sure you are getting in enough water each day. I don't mean water in the form of soda, sweetened drinks, milk or anything like that... just straight ordinary water. Aim for the 8 glasses a day, on top of whatever you mix in that you drink for taste. Being dehydrated can lead to TONS of problems. One thing I have learned since my recent tummy surgery is that if you are thirsty - you are already dehydrated.
I would also make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D in. Growing up I used to get very bad deep muscle pain in my legs sort of like a charley horse if I was missing either of those. Start taking a multivitamin if you aren't already, it can't hurt.
Try gentle stretching of the area that you are having the spasms at. For example I get mine near the area of my bad disc's and fusion. Even with my back being as messed up as it is I can spread my legs in a V and still bring my head to the ground now. There are times when even with the muscle relaxers that I still spasm, and I've found several positions of stretching that give me mild relief.
Over the counter things that I suggest, and use very frequently are "Tiger Balm", it is a pretty expensive item, for the size amount that you get, but it doesn't take much of it to work. Rub it in massagingly where the spasms are at, if you can't, have someone who can do it for you. I also use ICY Hot, and Icy Hot patches that they have out now regularly, as well as CVS has these patches that are called SALONPAS-Hot, it's a about 5 by 7 yellow thing, about the thickness of cardstock paper package, that says "capsicum patch" my brother informed me that capsicum is basically hot pepper extract or something the like, the patch works pretty well, it gives your body the image of warming without actually warming. There are times where I actually have to take if off because it feels like it's burning me, but nothing is being heated. Also - thermacare heat wraps do wonders for me. They last about 14 hours - although they say 8-10, and it's like having a heating pad on you all day long. If the area is inflammed, or you think it might be, consider trying Motrin, or Aleeve for a few days, along with putting an ice pack on it for 5-10 minutes a few times a day.
Yet another thing I sometimes do, is take a shower, and slowly turn up the heat and let the spray hit the worst areas in my back spot on.
Massage, slowly, is another great tool. If you have someone able to do it for you, have them gently massage the spasm area (and I do mean gently) in circular motions, with their thumb, palms, or a tennis ball or the like. The idea is to work out the spasm pushing out the tightness slowly away from the center. I admit for me, my back pain, and pain in general in several areas of my body, it gets to painful for even a slight massage, sometimes it feels as if my whole body is one big bruise. Just hubby putting on the icy hot if my back is in a really mean mood, is painful. Thats with him not even pushing down on me. If you can tolerate it though, I say go for it. If you don't have someone to massage your area for you, get a tennis ball, a softball, or something, put it between your back and the wall, and move your back around the ball, while hubby was in Iraq, I did this as much as I could.
If your muscle spasms came on suddenly, definitely contact your doctor. It could be a sign of a sprain, or pulled muscle. If they are getting intolerable, again, consult your doctor. I, personally, have muscle spasms daily, to the point where there are times I go in and my doctor can literally feel the muscles spasming just by laying her hand on my back.
Also - if you have a job that requires sitting for long periods of time - work on your posture, and slowly stretch your back while sitting. The same if you have a job that requires a great deal of time standing, take the 2-5 minutes to step out of the public eye, and stretch.
I wish you relief from the spasms - there is nothing quite as much fun as muscle spasms making you feel like your being stabbed over and over again.