If you’ve ever experienced a muscle spasm in your back, you know how excruciating they can be. Now, imagine having that pain as an older adult who is already frail or has a condition that causes chronic pain. Understanding what causes back spasms may help your aging relative to avoid them. But, just in case a back spasm occurs anyway, it’s also good to know what to do when they strike.
Back Spasm Causes.
Lower back spasms often occur because of an injury or inflammation. They can be brought on by many things, including:
- Bad Posture: Sitting in a chair or car using poor posture can place strain on back muscles.
- Lack of Exercise: Not getting enough exercise makes muscles weaker, so they are more susceptible to injury.
- Remaining Stationary: Sitting for too long can make muscles spasm.
- Overuse: If your aging relative overexerts themselves, such as by lifting heavy items, they may trigger spasms.
- Nerve Damage: Certain illnesses, including diabetes and sciatica, can cause damage to nerves that deliver messages to the back or to the nerves in the back, leading to spasms.
- Stress: Stress can cause people to tense their muscles without realizing it.
Managing Back Spasms at Home.
Avoiding behaviors and conditions that can trigger back spasms is the best way to prevent them. Also, if your aging relative experiences back pain, it’s a good idea to contact a doctor and see if medical care is needed. If the doctor says it’s okay to manage the pain at home, here are some things that may help:
- Pain Killers: Over the counter medications, with the approval of the doctor, can lessen the pain and help reduce inflammation. A senior care provider can remind them to take pain killers and ensure they don’t take too many.
- Rest: Allowing the back muscles to rest can help, but only if the older adult doesn’t rest too long. Experts say to rest the muscles for about two days and then gradually return to regular activity. Senior care can allow them to rest by handling household tasks, such as cleaning and cooking.
- Hot and Cold Packs: Alternating hot and cold packs can soothe sore muscles. Use a hot pack for about 20 minutes, then take a break for 20 minutes. Next, apply a cold pack for 20 minutes followed by another break. A senior care provider can prepare the packs and help apply them.
- Gentle Exercise: Moving around can help alleviate pain. Use gentle stretching exercises or a leisurely walk. A senior care provider can go for a walk with your family member or help them to stretch their muscles.
Back spasms are painful and can keep older adults from enjoying their regular activities. If your older adult family member experiences frequent back pain, talk to their doctor. In some cases, back pain can be an indicator of a more serious condition.
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