- by Dr Sajan George
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- Feb 16 2018
Muscle Spasms: Causes and Symptoms
Spasms can affect many different types of muscles in the body, leading to many different symptoms. Spasms of skeletal muscles are most common and are often due to muscle fatigue, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities.
Muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle. It occurs suddenly, usually resolve quickly, and are often painful.
Causes depend upon predisposing factors, the part of the body involved, and the environment that the body is in. it occurs when a muscle is overused, tired, previously injured, or strained. It may occur it the muscle has been overstretched or if it has been held in the same position for a prolonged period of time. In effect, the muscle cell runs out of energy and fluid and becomes hyper excitable, resulting in forceful contraction. Usually, the spasms will occur in the large muscles that are strained, being asked to do the work. When this occurs associated with heat exposure, the condition is known as heat cramps.
Unfamiliar exercise can also cause muscle spasms. Atherosclerosis or narrowing off the arteries may also lead to muscle spasm and cramps because of inadequate blood supply and nutrients are delivered to the muscle.
It depends on the muscle involved and the circumstances leading up to the spasm. It usually involves muscles that are being asked to do excessive work. There is acute onset of muscle pain as it contracts. A bulging, tight muscle may be seen or felt underneath the skin where the muscle is located. They last for the sec or a minute longer.
Most people have experienced a skeletal muscle spasm due to overexertion, especially in a warm environment, and are able to self-diagnose. However, if the spasms are severe, last a long time, or keep recurring, it is reasonable to see a health-care professional for evaluation.
The diagnosis usually begins with the history and physical examination. It is helpful to know the circumstances surrounding the muscle spasms. Physical examination is useful in detecting underlying health issues that may be helpful in making the diagnosis. If muscle spasms are prolonged and ongoing, there may be a concern that muscle breakdown and damage is occurring.
Since they are often associated with dehydration and electrolyte disturbances, it is important to keep the body well hydrated. It is often helpful to hydrate prior to activities in the warm environment. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the muscle spasms. For muscles that have been damaged or strained, medications may be required for short-term relief including anti-inflammatories, narcotics, and muscle relaxants.
- Stay hydrated with plenty of pure water
- Maintain your magnesium, potassium levels
- Exercise and stretch every day
- Reduce stress with mind-body techniques
- Get a good night’s sleep
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