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What Different Methods can Relieve Muscle Spasms?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 07 August 2018
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A sudden contraction of any muscle in the body is considered a muscle spasm. Muscle spasms can be painful and often last for just a few minutes. Treatment measures to relieve muscle spasms depend on the type of muscle involved and include stretching, medication, and other therapies.

Various types of muscles exist within the human body. Primarily, muscle spasms occur in one of two types of muscle, skeletal or smooth. Skeletal muscle works to help move structures of the body, such as bones and tendons. Smooth muscle lines the arteries, intestines, and bladder, and helps with the contraction of the linings of these structures and organs.

Skeletal muscles can experience a spasm for a number of reasons. When overworked or kept in the same position for an extended period of time, a muscle spasm can occur. In addition, strenuous exercise, dehydration, and poor nutrition can lead to muscle spasms in skeletal muscles.

Symptoms of muscle spasms in skeletal muscles vary in degree of severity depending on the muscle involved and the extent of the injury. Some may experience extreme pain. Others may feel a lump in the muscle or repetitive twitching as the spasm occurs.

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Several treatment options exist to relieve muscle spasms in skeletal muscles. At first, gentle stretching of the affected area can help relieve pain and relieve muscle spasms. Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can help with ongoing pain or inflammation. The use of ice upon initial cramping can help relax muscles, while applying heat later can help relieve pain.

In the case of skeletal muscles, proper preparation and care can help limit the possibility of experiencing a muscle cramp and the need to relieve muscle spasms. Proper hydration and stretching before activity can help prepare the muscles for use. Consumption of proper nutrients, such as potassium, glucose, and calcium, can also help prevent muscle cramps in skeletal muscles.

Smooth muscles can spasm for various reasons. Different health conditions, such as kidney stones and gallstones, can cause the muscles that line the walls of the respective ducts to spasm. This results in pain and can sometimes lead to nausea and vomiting. The smooth muscles along the intestinal walls can spasm resulting in diarrhea.

Treating to relieve muscle spasms associated with smooth muscles requires treating the underlying condition. Doctors will run a battery of tests, such as blood work and x-rays, to help diagnose the cause and decide on a course for treatment. Physicians may recommend medications such as muscle relaxers or narcotics for severe cases.

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kylee07drg
Post 4

My husband used to get intense muscle spasms when he worked outdoors in the summer heat. He tried to stay hydrated, but he was just sweating so much that he could not take in enough liquid to replace what he was losing.

He usually got spasms in his arms and legs, and he would just go sit in his air-conditioned truck with a bottle of water until they passed. They only lasted a few minutes, and then he could get back to work.

I was very happy when he found another job working indoors. He works in a refrigerated warehouse now, so he has not been getting any more cramps. This proves to me that they were dehydration-related.

seag47
Post 3

I sometimes experience lower back pain. I work at a vet clinic, and I have to lift some heavy dogs onto exam tables. The strain of this sometimes causes me to have a muscle spasm in my back.

The only treatment for lower back pain like this that works for me is a muscle relaxer. I got a prescription from my doctor for this, because she could see I was in a lot of pain.

When I get a spasm at work, I have to go home and take a pill. Muscle relaxers really do the trick, and they also relax the rest of my body, so I could not drive in this condition.

cloudel
Post 2

@StarJo – I used to experience the same type of cramps. The worst part was that once a cramp occurred, massaging and stretching only seemed to make it hurt even more, so I just had to lie there in misery until the spasm subsided.

My doctor told me that I needed more potassium in my diet. He suggested eating a banana every day. That sounded easy enough, so I started cutting one up in my cereal every morning.

Because I have not gone one day without a banana since the doctor told me this, I have not had one single episode of leg cramps. I never would have believed that something so simple could prevent this agony, but it did.

If you don't like bananas, there are plenty of other potassium-rich foods you could eat. Raisins, potatoes, spinach, and cantaloupe are just a few, but many fruits and vegetables are good sources of this.

StarJo
Post 1

I sometimes get intense leg cramps in the middle of the night. I wake up screaming, because the pain is so great.

My calf is always where the cramp occurs. It happens even on days when I haven't done anything strenuous, so I know that overworking the muscle is not the cause.

Does anyone know what can cause leg cramps in particular? Do I just need to improve my diet, or could something else be to blame for my calf cramps? I am tired of waking up to these terrible spasms, and I am willing to try anything to stop them.

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