Managing the Pain of Muscle Spasms
Have you ever been sitting quietly reading a book or watching TV when suddenly your muscle spasms and cramps? You experience sharp and sudden pain in your back, foot or calf. What causes this to happen? How should you treat it? Can you prevent muscle spasms?
Muscle spasms and cramps are very common, and they don’t tend to be serious and usually resolve on their own. They can occur in any part of the body that has muscle, but most commonly happen in skeletal muscles or those muscles attached to your bones. The most common areas that develop muscle spasms are the feet, the calf and thigh muscles, the hands, and the muscles in your back.
The cause of a muscle spasm isn’t always known, but some common factors may include:
- Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances
- Tired and fatigued muscles
- Exercising when it’s very hot
- Not stretching well before exercising
- Overdoing it when exercising or playing weekend sports
- Being pregnant
- Poor circulation to your legs
- Pinched nerves or injury to your spinal column
- Some medications can cause muscle spasms; be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist when taking a new medication
What can you do to help ease a muscle spasm?
- Massage the area that’s spasming
- Stretch gently to help loosen the tightened muscle
- Apply ice or heat to the area
- Soak in a warm bath
What can you do to help prevent future muscle spasms?
- Stay hydrated: drink plenty of water when exercising
- Replace electrolytes when exercising in the heat
- Stretch properly before exercising
- Ease back into exercise and sports activities
Muscle spasms are usually not serious and go away in a short period of time. However, if you’re experiencing recurring muscle spasms that are severe, especially in your back or neck, it might be time to seek medical care.
Back spasms can be more debilitating than other types of muscle spasms, and sometimes the help of a physician is necessary to resolve the problem. Specialized stretches and rehabilitation regimens, electrical stimulation, massage therapy, medication or chiropractic care are all treatments that can help resolve chronic back spasms. An exam is required to determine exactly which method, or methods, will provide you with long-lasting relief.
Dr. Marano and his staff at Spine Surgery of Idaho have been providing comprehensive spinal care in the Idaho Falls area for almost three decades. Call and schedule an evaluation today 208-522-6930, or go online to schedule an appointment.