back spasm


wondering if anyone can help.

For over a week now the muscles i the bottom of my back have been in spasm! I have to say it is one of the worse pains Ihave every felt!

I have seen my gp who gave me diazepam to help relax the muscles, which has helped but still in pain!

How can I be sure that it is caused by the ms, and is diazepam the right option?

Thanks in advance

Jen x

Hi Jen,

I think it’s very likely to be caused by the MS - although I realise that’s not quite the same as being sure. But in situations like this, I tend to look at what is most likely. Is it a rather unusual symptom for MS (and therefore more likely to be unrelated), or rather typical? In this case, I’d say rather typical, so do you really need to rack your brains (or badger your doctor) for an alternative explanation?

If the diazepam has helped, it certainly suggests it’s muscular, as you’d already guessed, as diazepam is a muscle relaxant - which would lend weight to the theory it’s all connected with the MS. If an undiagnosed person had muscle spasms, I wouldn’t automatically assume they had MS, but if a diagnosed person has them, I’d think it’s almost certainly connected.

Diazepam is fairly commonly used to treat muscle spasms - in both MS and other conditions, so yes, I think it’s a reasonable option. It can be combined with ordinary painkillers, and also with other types of muscle relaxant (e.g. Baclofen), if it isn’t fully effective by itself. Although there may be no 100% effective treatment - it may be a case of easing it as much as you can, and living with the rest.

Although many people with MS are intolerant of heat, I find a hot bath tends to ease muscular pain - at least for a while.

Don’t know if this is something you might consider, or if you know hot baths make you worse. I definitely get more muscle problems in general if I allow myself to get cold (all too common, at this time of year).



Hi Jen, I take Diazepam every time my back starts to play up. I usually take them before sleep because they sometimes send me sleepy during the day. you just have to be careful when you take them. they effect people in different ways. Andy

Thank you for your replies.

Tina - I do find a hot bath helps, but getting in out out of the bath causes so much pain that I sometimes wonder if its worth it!

Andy - I wish the diazepam made me sleepy, but unfortunately not!

Would you consider this to be a relapse, should I inform my ms nurse? I was dx nearly 4 years ago but only had one mild relapse since then, so still learning!

Thank you for your help

Jen x

Hello again,

I contacted my ms nurse (by email) for advice and waited for over a week for a reply!

She has said she thinks the pain sounds like musculo-skeletal rather than neuropathic, and i should ask my gp to refer me to physio!

I have to say, at the minute it painful to walk never mind do exercises!

I was hoping she would advise me on something other than diazepam to take for the pain/spasms, any ideas please?

Some days the pain isn’t too bad, today its agony :frowning:

Thanks in advance

Jen x

Hi Jen,

My lower back muscles have been in constant spasm for months now. I already take 80 mg baclofen daily and 18mg of tizanidine due to leg spasticity/spasms. These have not relieved the spasm in my lower back though. My ms nurse has recently arranged for some diazepam for me which has helped somewhat and this week my neuro physio has started me on a course of acupuncture in my lower back muscles. I have only had one session of acupuncture so far and it has been brilliant at resolving the back pain at last. It is such a relief as I was beginning to think that I would have to live with the pain forever.

Both my ms nurse and my physio believe that the back spasms are due to ms, possibly connected to the extensor spasms that I have and /or the way I am trying to walk (a few metres at most now). Maybe ask whether acupuncture is available for yourself? It doesn’t hurt when the needles are in, in fact, I found the whole session very relaxing. I know what it’s like to be in such constant pain. I always say I can cope with the physical restrictions caused by my ms but constant pain is very difficult to live with.

Amily x

Hi all, I don’t comment often but I do look in quite regularly.

I went to see my Neuro last Friday and when I described my lower back pain that can last over a week or two feeling like

my spine is going to snap he brushed it off and said sounds like a mechanical problem not MS.

I totally disagree with him, and 3 years after first meeting him and he still asked what other medication I take.

I was totally dumbfounded at how the fact I am on life long Warfarin is not highlighted on my record.

Sorry this post is negative but I came out of his office feeling like a performing Monkey as yes I can do what he asks but not

at all Pain Free.

Sonia x

Hi Sonia

Sorry you are suffering too. Just wanted to say my neuro is completely different. He seems to think that the pain is MS related but I am having an MRI 10th March to see if anything else is going on before we say definitely.

His words were if the results come back normal then it will be the MS.

I personally think it is the MS too.

I will let you know how I get on.

Shazzie x

1 Like

Hi Sonia,

Sorry to hear you are having back trouble too! My ms nurse also said mine was mechanical and not ms, and like you, I disagree!

I’m pleased to say that today my back has been ok, hardly any pain, but I know that doesn’t mean it will be like that tomorrow. I’ve also had some old symptoms reappear, burning down my left side, and annoyingly, burning in my right arm which is new!

I’m now wondering if this counts as a relapse? The back pain has gone on for 5 weeks, the burning for about a week now! There doesn’t seem to be too many guidelines with regards to relapses with back pain!

Can anybody offer advice on this?

Hope you are feeling better soon

Jen x

I have always visited a good osteopath for back problems. I’ve had to be a bit watchful about my back and neck for years - well before dx with MS.

Makes sense somehow that back pain is often due to the way you carry yourself/your posture. And MS would affect this wouldn’t it?

Wishing you better…


can u maybe try some excersises for ur back,i stand and turn round to look as far as i can,both sides,half a dozen times,if u cant stand,lie on bed ,lift kneeup,hold on to sides of bed,if u can,turn ur knees down to touch the bed,uses same back muscles as standing up,it may help,by slackening ur back off

Is there a way of confirming if these types of symptoms are MS related or maybe a trapped nerve?

I have had similar symptoms and also had problem with my back way before any mention of MS.

i don’t really want to waste money for a physio or osteopath appointment if there’s nothing they can do!

Hi…I too have muscles spasms in my back and ms hug(when I wake up)…moving about and sttretching definately help ms hug…my back spasms v.quickly if I am not careful…I go to physio once a month to keep back muscles stretched and know if have bad spasm I need to get to physio straight away…unfortunately this is privately as when it happens I could not wait on nhs and need immediate relief.Monthly massage definately helps …regular exercises and stretching oof back help…swimming helps and an awareness that ur back is ur wk spot…try to keep core muscles strong(although mind are floppy)x

my neurologist had no problem accepting that my back pain was a result of my ms. i have a whopping great lesion running down my cervical vertebrae, probably loads of little ones joined up, he thinks that this/they are responsible. i do a series of stretches, particularly necessary before sleep, they do alleviate some of the problem.

Hello again, and thanks for the comments.

I was referred to physio (gp marked it urgent and had an appointment 10 days later). Physio said not ms related and i’m doing stretching exercises 3 times a day. Going back tomorrow to get more exercises to strengthen my core!

The burning has gotten worse, including the top of my head which I’ve never had before (not pleasant!)

Does the burning count as a relapse? Getting quite down with everything now, I know I shouldn’t complain as I’m aware there are so many suffering more than me. Just feeling sorry for myself. Sorry

Jen x

it might be worthwhile getting a referral to a physio by a neurologist, sorry my attention span is horrible, have you mentioned any meds for your symptoms?! i find baclofen really good. if any of your symptoms feel like they’re overwhelming it’s always worthwhile telling your gp. a lot of us, myself included also find antidepressants helpful (yes, i rattle with all my meds!)

i’m sorry you’re feeling down, but i’m glad that you’re at least getting some of it off your chest here, god knows i regularly come here to do the same.


wendy xx

Thank you Wendy,

Not on any meds, mentioned baclofen to my gp, but was told its just a poor mans diazepam, and there was no point! not very helpful!

I just feel quite isolated with the whole ms thing! I don’t know anyone else with it apart for talking to people on here. Like I said, I know i’m lucky as I have few problems, I think fatigue is the worst, which in turn doesn’t help the depression!

Have been on antidepressants in the past (not related to ms, way before diagnosis), they helped but i worry about the addictive effects!

Just need to get out of this rut!

Thanks for listening/reading!

Jen x

Hi Jen. I personally disagree with you GP about Baclofen. I remember years ago having really painful leg spasms and Diazepam wouldn’t touch it. Baclofen was like a miracle. 20mg and an hour later I was like a new woman. Been on Baclofen regularly since.

I have very painful back spasms at the moment. I have arthritis in the base of my spine and I thought that was the problem but the pain is now radiating down the front of my legs. I have upped the baclofen and taking Ibuprofen and it has eased it a bit. Meeting physio for first time on Wed so will see what she thinks. Hope your pain eases soon because I know how painful it is.


hi again, i’m sorry you’re dealing with this, it sounds like you aren’t getting enough help or support from the medics you’ve seen. please try not to discount meds on the basis of potential addictive effects, when meds are needed longer term, they’re needed. necessary medical dependance isn’t the same as addiction. there are lots of different meds available for lots of pains/spasm/depression etc. i used to try and avoid taking pills, now i don’t because it’s a matter of quality of life first. you aren’t simply ‘in a rut’ you’re dealing with a health problem and a set of symptoms. it’s right and proper to seek help and support, you certainly don’t have to say ‘oh, well it’s only…’ if it’s having a negative effect, which it is, then it’s going to loom large in your life. have a good old whine on here, beat up a bean bag chair, but you have a right to seek help. could you maybe see another gp, get another opinion?!


If you ring your MS Nurse and discuss this with her she will be able to write to your GP advising him what to prescribe for your symptoms.

My experience of both these Meds are from a time I was suffering full body spasms every time I moved. Initially I was prescribed Baclofen which after two days was not preventing the spasms my GP then gave me Diazipam which started to lessen the spasms the same day I started taking them. I weaned myself off diazepam eventually but still take baclofen as I am too scared the spasms will start again. My GP was keen for me to stop taking diazepam as soon as I was ready but is happy for me to continue taking baclofen even though I am really only taking them “just in case” the spasms start again.

It is my understanding that Diazipam is a stronger muscle relaxant than Baclofen but usually Doctors prefer not to prescribe it because of it addictive qualities.

Good luck

Jan x