You worked yourself too hard
Your muscles can only do so much before they say, nope, you’ve gone too far. Though there are often good DIY remedies for muscle pain relief, sometimes you need something more. Muscle spasms, whether in your back, leg, or neck, can be from a muscle that’s overworked while doing strenuous or repetitive movements like gardening, cleaning, or holding a baby. “Muscles get fatigued and sore and you’ll experience a spasm,” says Robert Hayden, DC, PhD, founder of Iris City Chiropractic Center in Griffin, Georgia. He often uses a treatment called electrotherapy in his office to “break the cycle of spasms” in a 15- to 20-minute session.
You blew a disc in your back
A back spasm can be pretty uncomfortable and tough to diagnose. Here are signs your back pain is actually arthritis. According to Robert Graham, MD, MPH, of FRESH Med at Physio Logic NYC, if the spasm lasts more than three days and is very painful or is aggravated by coughing or sneezing, it may be a disc issue. Also, watch out for pain that radiates down your legs or is accompanied by numbness or tingling. In those instances, you want to get to your doctor for further investigation.
It may be peripheral artery disease
Also called PAD, peripheral artery disease happens when plaque builds up in your arteries, most often those in the legs. You may feel pain or numbness or the hair on your toes may disappear—check out these other weird foot symptoms that can indicate serious trouble. However, Hayden sees patients come in complaining that the cramping pain of a leg spasm will start as soon as they begin walking. When they stop, it goes away. “This is a sign that the muscle is quickly compromising its own blood supply,” he explains, adding that it sets off a red flag that it may be PAD. In that case, Hayden will check a patient’s circulation and contact their PCP to share his findings.