Medical Q&As

Muscle spasm - treatment??

A muscle in my back is in spasm and I am in quite a lot of pain as a result. I have been attending a physiotherapist and she has said that as the muscle is still in spasm I will have to get medication to free it. Can you give me more details as to why she might have chosen not to do this in the first instance?

Muscle spasm is a very common finding in back pain sufferers. The term spasm means that the muscle fibres are in a continuous state of contraction, which not only causes pain but can also restrict movement. Muscle spasm accounts for a great deal of the stiffness that we commonly associate with back pain. Presumably the physiotherapist was initially of the opinion that her physical treatments such as heat and message would have alleviated the spasm adequately. Since that has not happened it would be appropriate to use a drug to relieve the spasm in addition to continuing with the physiotherapy. There are various prescription drugs available for this purpose, which are often prescribed on a short-term basis. Such drugs are often used in conjunction with anti-inflammatory painkillers and are very effective in relieving the pain and stiffness associated with back pain.