Can Osteoarthritis Cause Spinal Muscle Spasms?

Read on to learn whether osteoarthritis can cause spinal muscle spasms and what you can do to soothe tension and pain.

Anju Mobin - Writer for Trim Down Club
By Anju Mobin
Nevena Radulović - Editor for Trim Down Club
Edited by Nevena Radulović

Updated December 12, 2022.

A blond woman pictured from the back holding her hands on her neck and back with red spots indicating painful areas

Like with rheumatoid arthritis, joints affected with osteoarthritis exhibit a variety of symptoms, ranging from joint tenderness, pain, and stiffness to swelling, redness, bone spurs, and so on. There's also a loss of flexibility and a reduced range of motion.

Among the numerous symptoms of osteoarthritis, there are also spinal muscle spasms.

» How to recognize arthritis: see the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis

Why Does Osteoarthritis Cause Muscle Spasms?

When joints are affected by osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions the bones of the joints gets damaged and wears away. This causes the bones to rub against each other, causing crippling pain.

The affected joints become inflamed, stiff, and swollen. The pain signals are transmitted through the facet joints that allow you to bend your back and neck forward and backward, triggering spinal muscle spasms.

» How dangerous is osteoarthritis? See if it can cause crippling and immobility

How to Treat Muscle Spasms

Aside from the pain relief remedies for arthritis in general and more effective treatments like systemic enzyme therapy, the following treatments may help target spinal muscles specifically, relieving spinal muscle spasms:

  • Firm massage: Massaging the affected muscle helps reduce the tension and relax the muscle.
  • Stretching the back: This may help release the tension in the affected back muscle.
  • Heat application: Applying heat increases blood circulation in the area to relieve pain.
  • Ice packs: Treating the area with ice packs reduces inflammation and relieves pain.
  • Over-the-counter pain-relieving medication: This sort of medication can offer some relief, but it takes time to get absorbed into your system and starts acting only after 30 to 50 minutes.
  • Drinking water and electrolytes: As dehydration worsens muscle spasms, increased water and electrolyte intake can help.
  • Foam rollers: Treating the muscle with foam rollers can reduce muscle tension.

Bottom Line

Among its other symptoms, osteoarthritis can cause spinal muscle spasms. Although osteoarthritis can't be cured, there are many remedies for treating spinal muscle spasms, like using over-the-counter medications, ice, or heat packs to relieve the pain.

If you're experiencing spinal muscle spasms due to osteoarthritis, remember to stay hydrated and take extra electrolytes. Eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and do gentle exercises to maintain a healthy range of joint movements.

» Reduce symptoms of arthritis by avoiding the wrong foods for arthritis