What is muscle spasm?
Definition muscle spasm
What is muscle spasm? Muscle strain is a sudden and accidental contraction in one or more muscles. If you have ever woken up at night, you certainly know that muscle spasm can cause tremendous pain. Although generally harmless, muscle spasm may block movement of the affected muscles temporarily.
Excessive exercise or activity, especially during hot weather, can cause muscle spasm. Some medications and certain medical conditions can also cause muscle spasm. Muscle spasm can usually be treated on their own at home with certain treatment steps.
What are the symptoms of muscle spasm?
Generally, muscle cramps invade the leg muscles, especially the calf muscles. In addition to the sudden sharp pain, one can usually also feel the hard lumps of muscle tissue just under the skin when cramps occur.
When to see a doctor?
Muscle spasm tend to disappear by themselves and are generally not so serious that they do not require any medical treatment or treatment. However, immediately go to the doctor if muscle spasm:
- Resulting in severe discomfort
- Associated with swelling, red hue on the arm or skin changes
- Associated with muscle weakness
- Often occur
- Does not improve after treatment with home care
- Not caused by something obvious like excessive exercise
What causes muscle spasm?
Overuse of muscles, dehydration, muscle tension or being in the same position for prolonged periods can cause muscle spasm. However, in most cases, the exact cause of muscle spasm is unknown.
Although most muscle spasm are not harmful, some may be related to underlying medical conditions, such as:
- Inadequate blood supply. Narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the leg (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can result in muscle spasm pain such as in the legs and feet when exercising. This cramp usually disappears as soon as a person stops exercising.
- Nerve compression. Compression of the nerves in the spine (lumbar stenosis) can also cause painful cramps such as in the legs. The longer you walk, the worsening will worsen. Walking in a slightly bent position – like when pushing a shopping cart – can increase or delay the onset of symptoms.
- Mineral Depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in the diet can also trigger cramps in the legs. Diuretics – drugs that are often prescribed for high blood pressure – can also drain these mineral levels in the body.
What are the risk factors for muscle spasm?
Factors that may increase the risk of muscle spasm include:
- As we age, our body loses muscle mass, so that the remaining muscles may be depressed more easily. This can increase the risk of muscle cramps.
- Fatigue and dehydration when exercising with warm weather often result in muscle cramps.
- Muscle cramps are also more common during pregnancy.
- Medical conditions. A person will have a higher risk of muscle cramps if he has diabetes, or a nervous, liver or thyroid disorder.
What to prepare for meeting a doctor?
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have frequent severe muscle cramps and do not subside after being treated with simple self-care steps When you see a doctor, bring up a list of your medical information
Your doctor may ask you to answer a number of questions to help make the decision whether you need to undergo a specific test or consult a specialist. To prepare yourself for answering questions, here is a list of questions that might come up during the consultation.
- When did you first experience muscle spasm?
- How severe and often do you experience it?
- Do cramps appear after certain activities or things, such as mild to severe exercise?
- Have you ever had muscle spasm while you were resting?
- Will stretching help to relieve your muscle spasm?
- Do you have other symptoms, including muscle weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs, hands or limbs?
- Does one of your blood close relatives have a history of muscle spasm?
- Did you notice any changes in your urine after exercise?
- Do you use recreational drugs or sports triggers?
Maintenance and Medicine
Muscle spasm can usually be treated with self-care measures. Doctors can demonstrate stretching exercises that can help reduce the risk of developing muscle spasm. Ensuring the body remains well hydrated can also help. For recurring cramps that interfere with sleep quality, your doctor may prescribe medications to relax your muscles.
Taking vitamin B complex supplements is generally recommended by some people to help manage leg cramps. However, further research is needed to confirm these benefits.
Lifestyle and Home Treatment
If you experience muscle spasm, these actions can help to alleviate them.
- Stretching and massage. Stretching and rubbing muscle spasm on a regular basis can also help relax the muscles. For seizures in the calf, pile up your weight on legs that cramp and bend your knees slightly. If you can not stand, sit on the floor or in the chair with your legs stretched out. Try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side toward the head while your feet stay in an upright position. This step will also help relieve cramps in the hamstrings (hamstring). For quadriceps, use a chair to relax the body and try pulling your legs on the affected side toward the buttocks.
- Apply hot or cold compresses. Use a warm towel or warmer pillow with tense muscles or cramps. Warm bath water or direct flow of hot water to the muscles can also help. Or, massage the muscles with ice can also reduce pain.
The following steps may help prevent cramps:
- Avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids every day. The amount of fluid needed by everyone depends on what is eaten, sex, activity level, weather, health condition, age and drug consumed. The fluid helps muscle contraction and relaxes as well as keeps the muscle cells hydrated and reduces the possibility of irritation. When on the move, drink regularly, and continue drinking water or other fluids after you finish the move.
- Stretch your muscles. Stretch before and after using muscle for long periods. If you tend to experience leg cramps at night, do stretching exercises before going to bed. Light exercise, like riding a stationary bike for a few minutes before bedtime, can also help prevent cramps while you sleep.