Back Spasm Treatment: Inversion Tables Can Ease Your Pain
Back spasm treatment is a complex topic. Because back spasms and muscle cramps are a very common ailment, the possible treatment options may be confusing for patients. For people who want to avoid potentially addicting medication or drastic interventions, inversion tables can be an effective non-medical back spasm treatment. They can help relieve back muscles and decompress the spine.
The vast majority of the U.S. population will experience back pain at some point, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. It not only takes a toll on the sufferer but also takes a toll on the economy. It’s a widespread problem, and it can be debilitating.
We will explain why back pain is so prevalent, and how inversion tables my just be the back spasm treatment that you have been searching for.
The Back’s Central Role
The spine and lower back play a critical role in our physiology. Lower back muscles support the weight of the upper body and enable us to bend and twist and walk. Nerves in our lower back supply sensation and power all the muscles from our pelvis to our feet. In sum, it is a critical and much-used area of the body, but not one we usually think to take care of.
Most Common Back Ailments
It’s not surprising that injuries or irritation are common, given how much we use our back muscles. Fortunately, most back pain is not serious – moreover, it is treatable. Although back pain can be caused by serious conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, fractures, or cancer, most pain stems from mechanical issues. Mechanical back pain is caused by strain on the muscles around the spine. It typically results from repetitive or incorrect movements or postures, although less obvious issues like obesity and psychological stress can also cause pain. In addition, certain types of sports (such as golf or football, which require lots of twisting motions) can irritate back muscles and lead to back spasms or muscle cramps.
Drugs Aren’t That Helpful
The cause is usually straightforward, yet the pain itself can be devastating. Many people with back spasms, back pain, and muscle cramps have accustomed themselves to living in discomfort. Alternatively, they attempt to manage it with medications that can be addicting. Research has called into question whether drugs as common as Tylenol are effective at treating back spasms. For instance, a study in the British Medical Journal suggested that acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) is “ineffective against low-back pain…” A study published in The Lancet reached similar conclusions that acetaminophen “does not ease low-back pain.” Furthermore, a review of 20 trials published in 2016 by JAMA Internal Medicine found opioids offer “only modest, short-term relief.”
Unfortunately, the healthcare system is set up to push people to less conservative care. According to a 2016 article in Business Insider, Dr. Shalini Shah, director of pediatric pain management at UC Irvine Health noted, “it costs more for insurance companies for a physician to do a procedure on a patient or to do physical therapy. It is far cheaper for us to write a prescription for a 30-day supply of morphine.”
Non-Drug Options for Back Spasm Treatment
Academics, physicians, and public health officials increasingly advocate what’s called a “conservative care first” approach. This approach encourages non-pharmaceutical treatments for chronic back spasms and muscle cramps.
Fortunately, there are numerous options.
This is when chiropractors “apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint. The goal of chiropractic adjustment, also known as spinal manipulation, is to correct structural alignment.” Therefore, it is most often performed to treat low back pain, neck pain, and headaches.
The goal of most physical therapy treatments is to decrease pain, increase or restore function and educate the patient on how to prevent recurrent injuries. Physical therapy for back pain typically involves passive and active therapy.
These are treatments a professional performs on the patient, called “passive” because the patient is a passive participant. They include heat/ice packs; ultrasound (provides deep heating to soft tissues); paraffin baths (immersing a joint in warm wax to warm the connective tissues); or TENS units (electrodes stimulate the sensory nerves, creating a tingling sensation that reduces the feeling of pain)
Simply put, active therapy is exercise. These exercises usually include a combination of stretching, strengthening, and low-impact aerobic conditioning.
This low-risk treatment option improves blood flow and decreases tension in muscles. In addition, it can help reduce psychological stress. Because stress can contribute to muscle spasms and back pain, this can be an important benefit.
The one big drawback of all the above options is that you need someone else to perform them – and often you need a primary care physician’s referral.
Inversion tables provide an attractive alternative back spasm treatment to medical options or drug interventions.
Our spines compress over time, which can cause pressure and/or pain. An inversion table uses gravity to relieve pressure on the spine. The idea is that hanging upside down or at an angle where your head is lower than your feet will decompress the spine. This relieves pressure on spinal discs and can help with nerves that may have become pinched by spinal compression.
The Natural Arthritis Relief website says that an inversion table may help relieve general back pain by providing full-spine traction. Because inversion tables can also stretch muscles and ligaments, they also reduce muscle spasms and improve circulation. In addition, some people suggest that the stretching from inversion tables can increase the flow of lymphatic fluids, which are part of the body’s waste disposal system.
In addition, inversion tables may help people who want to maximize their height. The average person shrinks up to 3/4 of an inch over the course of a day due to gravity; hence, stretching the spine can temporarily counteract this shrinkage.
Most importantly, the main benefit of inversion tables is that you can use them at home for relatively little expense.
Although there are many options for back spasm treatment, most professionals advocate a conservative approach. Inversion tables can be an inexpensive and convenient way to treat back pain at home.
Of Course, Consult Your Doctor First
Most of all, you should ALWAYS consult a medical professional before starting any course of back spasm treatment, including using an inversion table. Inversion tables can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure, heart disease or glaucoma, according to the Mayo Clinic. Moreover, hanging upside down or at a steep angle can exacerbate these ailments. Fortunately, people can adjust most tables to different angles (shallow or steep) depending on how much of a stretch one wants.