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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Muscle Spasm

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Muscle spasms are the involuntary contraction or tensing of a muscle that cause intense pain for the patient. The pain can be sudden but short-lived. Different parts of the body can experience spasm but it is most common on the skeletal muscles which are responsible for voluntary movements like lifting, walking, and running. The usual causes of spasms are overuse of the muscle, muscle fatigue, muscle injuries, dehydration, and imbalances in electrolyte levels. It can also occur in muscles that are overstretched or held in the same position for prolonged periods. Spasms can cause limitation in motion due to the pain.

Self-diagnosis of muscle spasms are common especially if it occurs in patients who overuse their muscles. Muscle spasms that are recurrent or does not resolve spontaneously should be consulted with a doctor. The doctor will determine the events that trigger the muscle spasm, its duration, the type of contraction and pain felt during a spasm as well as the patient’s medical history.

 
Symptoms
  • Sudden pain due to the contraction of the muscle
  • Bulging, tight muscle felt or seen under the skin
  • Muscle weakness
Risk Factors
  • Athletes. Muscles are overused due to strenuous exercises in a hot environment
  • Occupation. Construction workers or other occupations that use majority of their muscles in a hot environment
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be given for short-term pain relief due to the spasm.

 

Treatment and Management
  • Most patients relieve muscle spasm by gently stretching the muscle involved. Some types of muscle spasm are relieved spontaneously after a few minutes even without any treatment.
  • Allow the affected muscles to rest once spasms occur. Avoid overworking the affected muscle. Heat pads or ice packs placed on the muscle can provide immediate pain relief.
  • Light massage on the affected muscle can improve the blood flow and decrease the tension and pain.
  • Ginger is shown to be an effective topical anti-inflammatory. It can improve the blood circulation on the affected area which relieves the tension and pain. An alternative to topical preparations of ginger is to drink ginger tea.
  • Consume food rich in magnesium to maintain normal muscle and nerve function. This include food like banana, ginger, almonds, and brown rice.

 

Prevention

  • Drink plenty of fluids especially when working in a hot environment to prevent dehydration. Hydrate before doing activities in a hot environment.
  • Warm up the muscles before doing physical activities that will heavily use large muscle groups.
Home Remedies
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