A spasm is when a muscle contracts in a sudden and involuntary manner. Spasms may be "clonic," repeatedly contracting and relaxing, or they may be sustained over a period of time. Spasms may involve smooth or striated muscle and can occur anywhere in the body; however, they do tend to take place in common muscles that are subject to overexertion, such as the back.
To treat a muscle spasm in the back, begin by taking general measures to reduce muscular tension and improve blood circulation to the affected area. Take an over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, to reduce inflammation and swelling and to decrease physical discomfort.
Once you have taken the proper dosage of medication, ask someone to help you apply a liberal coat of aspirin-containing skin cream directly to the affected area. The massaging motion will help blood circulate to the wounded muscles and the active ingredients in the aspirin will reduce pain on contact. Do not use sports creams that are designed to heat or cool a muscle. They make your skin feel warm on the surface but to little to improve the situation beneath.
After 20 to 30 minutes, try some light and easy stretches, but be careful not to overexert yourself or you run the risk of repeating the injury.
Many people automatically reach for the heating pad when they injure a muscle. When treating a back injury, it may be better apply ice first. Heat is soothing to tissues and helps to promote healing, but it also causes dilation of the blood vessels, which can increase swelling, rather than decrease it. It is better to talk a cool shower and then apply ice in 15 minute intervals to the injured area. After 48 hours have passed, you can safely switch from cold to heat if muscles in your back are still sore or stiff.
Topical Rosemary Tea
A tea made from rosemary can help to reduce the tension and tenderness caused by muscle spasms. The oils found in the herb have natural anti-inflammatory properties and because it is readily absorbed through the skin, use the rosemary tea as a topical liniment.
Simply add one tablespoon of fresh or dried rosemary to one cup of boiling water and stir. Allow the mixture to stand for 20 minutes and then pour the resulting concoction through a paper towel or coffee filter to remove the particles of dried herb. Using a clean cloth, apply the solution to the affected area and allow it to air dry -- do not rinse it away.
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