Back pain caused by stiff muscles is a common condition that affects people of all ages. The pain and stiffness typically begins in the lower back and can spread to the neck, arms, legs, and feet. Luckily, back pain and stiffness from tight muscles is usually temporary and should resolve on its own. But, if it doesn't, there are several treatment options that can help.
Muscles are made of flexible tissues that can extend and contract. They are controlled by the nervous system. Motor nerves are cable-like structures that relay messages from the brain through the spinal cord to the muscle tissue. When the muscles are tight and stiff, they may irritate or pinch the motor nerves at the neuromuscular junction, resulting in pain, pins and needles, and numbness.
There are a few key reasons why your muscles can get stiff and tight. One is overuse. If you're an athlete or have a job that requires repetitive movements, your muscles can be extra tight from overuse. Another cause is inactivity. Your muscles are meant to move regularly, and if they don't, your joints can become stiff from inactivity.
In addition to getting enough rest, the following at-home treatments can help alleviate back and joint stiffness. These include alternating hot and cold therapy, such as using a heating pad and sitting in a warm bath, or massaging the tight muscles a few times a day. Additionally, taking NSAIDs or other pain medications like ibuprofen can reduce the inflammation and discomfort associated with stiff muscles.