A muscle spasm in the arm occurs when a muscle contracts, often quite painfully, without the person intending it to do so. This involuntary contraction can last only briefly, or it can last for several hours, and a more severe muscle spasm can lead to a strain if left untreated. To properly treat a muscle spasm in the arm, it is important to understand what is causing the contraction in the first place. Dehydration can lead to cramps, as can unconditioned and seldom-used muscle tissue. Overuse of the muscles can cause a spasm as well, so people should carefully consider what might be causing the cramp before treating it.
In many cases, light massaging and stretching can help alleviate the pain of a muscle spasm in the arm. This should be done carefully, as putting pressure on the contracted muscle can also cause more pain. When the spasm occurs, the person should refrain from further physical activity if he or she was participating in such activities. Continuing to move around or use the muscles can cause more pain, and it may even cause spasms in other parts of the body.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of muscle spasms in any part of the body. It is important for individuals to stay properly hydrated regardless of whether they are participating in athletic activities or not. When the muscles are depleted of oxygen, they are more likely to spasm, and staying hydrated ensures the proper delivery of oxygen to the muscles. Depleted stores of electrolytes can also lead to muscle cramps, so taking supplements that increase electrolytes in the body can help prevent and treat muscle spasms. Sodium and potassium are important electrolytes, so a diet rich in such vitamins and minerals can prevent muscle spasms in the future and help relieve or heal a current spasm. Muscle contractions due to depleted electrolytes are common among athletes after excessive exercise, and this depletion is often coupled with dehydration.
More serious instances of a muscle spasm in the arm may be caused by neurological issues. Nerves may become damaged or compressed, leading to a sudden cramp in the arms or other parts of the body. Toxins within the body can cause nerve damage, thereby leading to muscle spasms. In this case, the cramp is a symptom of a much more serious problem that should be addressed immediately by a medical professional.