Back contractures: how to treat them?

Back contractures: how to treat them?

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Our muscles are able to contract and relax for ensure and facilitate all types of movement.

However, when a muscle contracts, it can run into one joint stiffness and, consequently, the normal range of motion of the same muscle can be reduced: it is the muscle contracture.

The sensations of pain and stiffness that accompany this condition, in the back, can originate in the muscle or joint, and can be mild or so severe that they become debilitating. But what are the contractures of the back? How to treat them?

What are back muscle contractures

The contractures they are not injuries that affect the muscle itself, but rather temporary or permanent "deformities" that reduce joint flexibility and normal range of motion.

In reality, back muscle contractures are a kind of defense mechanism, in the sense that they prevent excessive physical exertion that can lead to permanent damage in the form of loss of flexibility and freedom of movement of the affected area.

Causes of back muscle contractures

Muscle contractures in the back prevent us from "forcing" the muscles too much and, therefore, from seriously damaging the joints. In other words, they are our body's way of telling us that we have gone too far and that we need rest to recover.

There are numerous reasons and factors that cause and contribute to back muscle contractures:

  • excessive exerciseVigorous training that can put excessive pressure on the spine can reduce mobility and lead to severe back pain. In addition, sudden movements of the torso or bad exercises also contribute to back contractures;
  • lack of heating: Muscle contractions in the back are more likely if you don't warm up properly before exercising. Inadequate preparation for physical exercise causes the muscles of the spine to also perceive a normal amount of tension greater than it is, pushing the joints and muscles to their limits and risking injury:
  • bad posture: one of the effects of poor posture is muscle contractility. Spending too many hours on the desk, in front of the computer or the television will make us adopt an incorrect posture and can cause stiffness in the joints and muscle contractions of the back;
  • injuries: fractures and nerve injuries as a result of trauma or anything that causes our joints to lose their range of action partially or completely, can cause back contractures;
  • thermal changes: Going from hot to cold without being dressed properly can cause muscle twitching. In particular, a particularly cold draft of air penalizes the back;
  • infection or diseaseBack muscle contractions are common in head injuries, childhood illnesses, birth paralysis due to injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and various nerve, muscle, joint or bone infections, conditions and diseases.

Treatment for back contractures

Once the symptoms have been examined and a diagnosis made, the doctor will look for the best one treatment for back contractures.

A first path could be that of physiotherapy, whose regular sessions can give an excellent result. The physical therapist may also assign exercises to do at home. You may also need to use a back support to help stretch the tissues.

From a pharmacological point of view, the doctor can prescribe drugs for reduce inflammation and pain. In patients with cerebral palsy, botulinum toxin is sometimes injected into the muscles to reduce tension and minimize spasms.

In rare cases we proceed with thesurgery, necessary to stretch muscles or to repair damaged ligaments, tendons or bones in the event of an accident. For example, the surgeon can repair a shoulder ligament, hoping that in the long term full freedom of movement will be regained. When a joint is replaced due to arthritis, the contractures are released. Also there functional electrical stimulation it can be used to stimulate a muscle.

Read also: Swimming and back pain, benefits and tips

Consequences of delayed processing

Delaying or giving up treatment can make it difficult or impossible to recover the range of action of the muscle. stiff muscles, joints and skin can interfere with daily activities at home and at work.

When to call the doctor

Often mild contractures manage to heal on their own with a little patience and without overloading the same joint affected by new fatigue.

However, it is always good to consult your doctor for the best health care, especially if you feel that your joint is starting to contract, if you are having difficulty doing your range of motion exercises, and again if you have problems with spasticity, redness, blistering or open sores, pain, swelling or burning in the back, shoulders, or arms that are abnormally numb or pale.

In addition, people suffering from diseases such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis should receive ongoing medical care for best results.


Back pain and stiffness can occur for many reasons. Maybe something very heavy has lifted or you have been bent over for too long. The pain is usually not severe enough to require medical attention.

Most back pains end up going away on their own. However, there are several stretches that can speed up the process, helping to relieve contracture stiffness and back pain faster: rest, keep your joints in light motion, take advantage of heat treatment, and, of course, see your doctor promptly.

Video: Successful Contracture Management Part 6: Real Life Examples 2 (May 2022).