What is MUSCLE SPASM ?
Muscle spasms is also known as muscle cramps. It occurs when your muscle involuntary and forcibly contracts and becomes unable to relax. It can involve part or all of a muscle, or several muscles in a group. The most common sites for muscle spasms are the thighs, calves, feet, hands, arms and abdomen.
How Does It Occurs ?
Muscle spasm can be caused by not enough stretching, muscle fatigue, dehydration depletion of electrolytes (salts and minerals), stress and etc. Possible causes for nocturnal leg cramps include sitting for long periods of time, overused muscle or poor sitting posture.
What Are The Symptoms ?
A spasm feels like tightness or a knot in the muscle. It can feel like a ‘stitch’ or be agonizingly painful. It may hurt when you use the muscle impacting its use. A cramp during exercise is often extremely painful.
Your healthcare provider will examine and assess the affected muscles and tightness and tenderness.
How It Is Treated ?
1. Ice packs are helpful for spasms caused by injury for the first 2 to 3 days. Use the ice for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours.
2. Try stretching the muscle. For example, you can stretch a cramp in the calf of your leg by straightening your lower leg and pulling your foot toward your head. It may also help to stand on the leg that is cramping.
3. Spasms that last a long time may be treated with moist heat for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day.
4. Your healthcare provider may give you stretching exercises.
5. Massage is very helpful.
6. If you have severe cramps in your legs at night, your healthcare provider may prescribe some medication to help.
How Can Muscle Spasm Be Prevented ?
1. Proper stretching exercises
2. Loosen the covers at the foot of your bed to help prevent leg cramps when you are sleeping.
3. If you tend to get muscle cramps during exercise, make sure you drink enough fluids. Sports drinks may be very helpful due to its specific content.
4. Some spasms may be caused by poor posture. For example, you may have neck spasm after sitting at a computer terminal for too long or in an awkward position. These spasms may be prevented with better posture.