How Can You Effectively Treat Muscle Spasms?

Involuntary contraction of the muscle is termed as muscle spasm or muscle cramp. They usually occur suddenly and painful in nature, but most also resolve quickly. However many spasm may last long and thus need treatment for the condition. It is important to note that muscle spasm is not the same as muscle twitching. Muscle twitching is an uncontrolled fine movement of a small part of a large muscle.

The cause of muscle spasm vary and every cause is dependent on varied factors, the part of the body involved and environment in which the body is. Overused and tired muscles as well as overstretched muscles usually cause muscle spasm. Many times the position of the body may also cause spasms to occur. Muscle spasm may occur anywhere in the entire body; legs, hands, neck, shoulder and even fingers. Another common cause of muscle spasm is dehydration and depletion of electrolytes as muscles require water, sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium to help them contract in organized fashion.

Muscle spasm can be segregated into skeletal muscle spasm and smooth muscle spasm. Amongst the two, skeletal muscle spasm is more common and occurs in everyone, especially when associated with heavy labor work  or indulgence in sports.

Prevention:

The key is to prevent the occurrence of skeletal muscle spasm episodes by taking proper precautions. Most of such cases occur due to dehydration as well as electrolyte disturbances; therefore it is important to keep the body hydrated always. In case of fluid loss, due to illness with vomiting, fever and diarrhea, controlling the symptoms is important to limit fluid loss and thus in turn prevent the occurrence of spasms. Similarly who workout and exercise, especially in hot environment, intake of water and other fluids is important to keep the body hydrated.

In order to avoid muscle spasm, it is important to ready the muscles for an expected activity. In case of athletes, they stretch and warm themselves up before a big game, in order to prepare the muscles. Similarly one should ready the muscles before any heavy labor job, including mowing, shoveling and raking.

Treatment:

In case the skeletal muscles undergo a spasm, the first line of treatment in to gently stretch the muscle back lengthwise in order to break the spasm cycle. Furthermore, relaxing the muscle is important as that will help to ease the tension on the muscles. On the other hand, treatment of smooth muscle spasm too depends on the cause of the spasm. The pain associated with this kind of spasm is usually colicky, which means it keeps fluctuating. For example gallbladder pain, diarrhea and kidney stone passing pain.

The further treatment is dependent on the cause of muscle spasm. Damaged or strained muscles can be treated by medications for pain relief for a short period of time. It includes intake of anti- inflammatories such as inbuprofen, narcotics and muscle relaxants.

Dystonia is a type of neurological disorder which causes muscle contractions leading to twitching and repetitive postures. There is no single effective treatment for dystonia. One can use medication to ensure balance of the neurotransmitters. The medical practitioner may have to use a trial and error method to identify the right medication for a person suffering from dystonia as it varies from patient to patient. Some of the common drugs include muscle relaxants such as diazepam and baclofen and seizure control drug like carbamazepine.

To summarize, spasms affect different kinds of muscles in the body which lead to varied symptoms. Although spasms may occur in smooth as well as skeletal muscles, skeletal muscle spasms are most common which are mainly caused by dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. Thus you must take care to avoid its occurrence by being well hydrated always. In case the spasm doesn’t go or keeps recurring and is painful, it is advisable to consult a doctor to determine the underlying cause. Muscle spasms are treatable if care is taken and intervention is done at the right moment.

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