Your muscles and joints can suffer a great deal of pain if you fall prey to a sprain, strain or muscle spasm. If you know what causes these problems, and know how to prevent them, you can save yourself a lot of discomforts. Your chiropractor can help by correcting defects that cause your muscles to protect you by going into a painful spasm.
You are hiking and step on a rock. Your ankle turns over and you feel a wrenching pain, but can still walk back to camp. The real pain comes later. This is a sprain.
A sprain occurs when the joint is forced to go beyond its normal range of motion. The ligament fibers over stretch and tear. This often happens with sudden twisting in active sports. With a sprain, the joint can still function, even though minute ligament tears leak blood into the tissue surrounding the joint, causing swelling and discomfort.
Back sprains are usually severe. Pain and motion in the lower back will often cause a muscle spasm. Acute sprains require the attention of a doctor.
If a muscle or tendon was injured when you stepped on that rock, you experienced a strain. Strains are not as serious as sprains. They often happen when you neglect to warm up your muscles before using them. Chronically strained muscles or ligaments can result from years of tension or misuse.
You’ve been driving for two hours. You turn and reach for your hat in the back seat and whammy. Your lower back muscles on one side rebel and clamp down into a spasm.
A spasm is a sudden, forceful and sustained muscle contraction. It is usually caused by a direct trauma to the muscle, excessive exercise or chronic strain. You can tell when your muscle is in spasm. It bulges and is hard to the touch. The muscle is painful and feels tied in a knot. When you have a muscle spasm, all the fibers contract. With normal movement, only some of the fibers contract.
Muscles do two things. They contract and they relax. Muscles around the spine add protection. If you overwork them, the message from the nervous system to the muscle is to contract and protect. If something is wrong with the discs or facet joints, muscles go into spasm to hold everything in place, preventing further damage to the spine. A muscle in spasm serves as a splint, restricting a range of motion and friction upon joints. The protective spasm can be chronic. It can even be a cause of scoliosis, abnormal spinal curvature.