How to stop a back spasm

Updated July 20, 2017

A back spasm, or a muscle spasm that occurs in any region of the back, is a painful tightening of the muscle. Back spasms are primarily caused by one of three reasons: injury, ageing, or oxygen deprivation (when the oxygen supply in our nerves is reduced). You cannot stop a back spasm while it is happening; however, you can take various measures to stop them from reoccurring in the future. Follow these steps to stop back spasms before they even start.

Stretch the back properly every day. Stretches to prevent back spasms are usually recommended on an individual basis, according to where the pain exists most. Water therapy (pool and jacuzzi stretches) may also decrease pain and stop back spasms from returning.

Apply ice and heat to the most sensitive areas on the back. Heat increases the circulation before any strenuous activity; thus, it is an effective method of preventing spasms. Apply ice when the injury first occurs to reduce swelling and inflammation of the muscles.

Rest your back muscles. If you are having frequent spasms, decrease the amount of strenuous activity until the muscle spasms go away. In order to stop spasms from happening frequently, be sure that you are giving yourself adequate rest in between your exercise regimen.

Take over-the-counter treatments to reduce the pain. Stopping a muscle spasm in its tracks cannot happen; however, taking treatments can certainly reduce the pain of a back spasm.

Allow the pain to pass. Back spasms are painful, but you must be patient and give them time to pass. Sometimes, pain will last for a few hours, while other in other instances, pain may last for a few weeks. Keeping a positive outlook and being patient is key in overcoming pain from back spasms.


  • Consult a physician or physical therapist for exercises that may help alleviate back spasms. - Purchase back-friendly furniture for your home. Getting a comfortable bed and ergonomic desk chair can also help improve the quality of your back. - If you have a job that requires sitting for long periods of time, be sure to get up and stretch during the day.


  • While the actual spasm occurs, there is no way to actually stop it. However, preventive measures and treating recurring back spasms will decrease and possibly eliminate the pain. -Wearing the wrong shoes (those with poor arch control and little cushion) can also increase the likelihood of recurring back spasms. Purchase shoes that are comfortable and give great support.

Things You'll Need

  • Heating Pad
  • Ice
  • OTC Treatments
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About the Author

Based in the Northeast, Tonya Abari is a writer/editor and traveling humanities teacher (she teaches child entertainers on film/TV sets). Abari received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland at College Park in English/English education and also has an MBA.