Immediate relief for lower back spasms

The pain of an acute, sudden back spasm can be intense. Likewise, chronic lower back spasms can make it difficult to work or relax.

The following strategies may help to relieve the pain when it comes on quickly. These include:


Firm pressure on the affected muscle may help reduce tension and stop the spasm.

To soothe a muscle spasm, press on the affected area for 30–60 seconds, then rub the surrounding area in a circular motion.

Firm massage may be uncomfortable, but should not be painful. If you feel a pulse on the area you are massaging, do not apply pressure.

Heat or ice

Both heat and ice can relieve the pain of a muscle spasm. Both treatments can reduce inflammation and ease muscle tension. Alternating hot and cold packs can be particularly helpful.

Try applying a hot and then cold pad for 20 minutes at a time, with a 20-minute break in between. A hot water bottle and an ice pack should be effective.

Do not apply very hot or cold packs to the skin. Instead, wrap them in a towel or cloth before pressing them against the back.

Over-the-counter pain relief patches

Menthol - Capsicum - Camphor patches can offer temporary relief, and they can help slow the spasm within 20-30 minutes up to 8 hours.

Muscle relaxants

A doctor can prescribe muscle relaxants when people have extreme spasms that are visible and prominent. People should only use muscle relaxants for up to 72 hours

Water and electrolytes

Dehydration can cause muscle spasms, or make existing spasms worse. Continue drinking water, or consider switching to an electrolyte drink.

Use a foam roller

Many people use foam rollers to loosen muscle tension or tightness after exercise. They may also help to relieve muscle spasms in the back.

Always speak to a doctor before using a foam roller, as misusing it could cause back injuries.