You probably already know that a muscle spasms occur when your muscle contracts involuntary. Everyone- no matter what their age or gender- can be affected by muscle spasms.
These can be quite painful at times and only after the spasm eases up is the individual able to get some relief. Muscle spasms can occur anywhere on the body- even in the chest.
Quite often, muscle spasms in the chest cause a “squeezing” pain, which can very easily be mistaken for a heart attack.
There are lots of different causes and health conditions that can cause muscle spasms in the torso. Following, we will explore a few of those.
What are Some Causes for Muscle Spasms in the Chest?
Pulled Muscle in the Chest
A pulled muscle in the chest can result in muscle spasms. Anyone can have a pulled muscle in their chest.
However, athletes such as boxers and weightlifters, or those who play sports such as tennis or basketball, are much more likely to experience a muscle spasm in their chest. The pulled muscle is due to trauma that results from a hit.
The hit and the resulting spasm can even cause the muscle to tear at some point. One of the most severe symptoms of a pulled chest muscle is the muscle spasms.
Along with these spams, the individual experiencing them is likely to experience extreme pain and the muscles may become much more sensitive to the touch.
Injury to the Chest Wall
Injuries to the chest wall/muscle can actually be fairly common among athletes. There are twelve pairs of ribs in the chest and each one of them is separated by a bundle of veins, an artery, and an intercostal nerve.
The ribs are also joined to the breastbone with costochondral cartilage. Synovial joints connect the rear part of the ribs to the collarbone.
Therefore, receiving an injury to any of these locations can result in an indirect injury to the chest or thoracic wall, which could cause muscle spasms in the chest.
For football players and for those who are on a bodybuilding regime, chest muscle pain is a very common problem.
When it comes to bodybuilders or those who are strength training, the equipment that is used such as the dumbbell press, the bench press, and even push-ups can result in chest muscle pain.
Stress Fractures in the Chest
Typically, stress fractures are seen in athletes, due to the excess strain of their training or playing sports can cause stress on the ribs.
Repetitive, intense exercise of the upper body could cause stress fractures, which could lead to muscle spasms.
Rowers and golfers could even suffer from this condition. Though a stress fracture of the sternum is rare, and is caused due to severe chest trauma, it could possibly result in the sudden contractions of muscles and can be life threatening.
Spasm of the Coronary Artery
The human heart is comprised of muscles that help the heart to pump in the oxygen that the body requires to properly function.
The oxygen and nutrients that are in the blood are pumped through the body by the heart and carried through the rest of the body in blood travelling through the coronary arteries.
The walls of the coronary artery actually has muscle fibers that are responsible for the relaxation and contraction of the coronary artery- which regulates the flow of blood to different areas of the heart.
Muscle spasms of the coronary artery is very uncommon and is typically experienced in the early hours of the morning when the body is resting.
As soon as the muscle spasm releases, the individual is relieved of the pain in the chest. The blockage that is created due to the muscle spasm is a temporary one.
Additionally, you should know that it is rarely an indication that there is something wrong with the heart.
Another cause of spasms in the chest area that does not have a cardiac cause is esophageal spasms. In this type of spasm, the muscles in the esophagus have some abnormal contractions that result in significant chest pain.
Quite often, this pain can be confused with cardiac related pain. However, in an esophageal spasm, the chest pain that is experienced is behind the breastbone.
Fibromyalgia & Spasms in the Chest
Fibromyalgia is a condition that is characterized by chronic fatigue. This causes some severe muscle pain, and does, in fact, affect the muscles in the shoulders, chest, and neck- as well as others.
Fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men. Muscle spasms in the chest can occur as a symptom of fibromyalgia- which can lead to some pretty severe chest pain.
Additionally, when the bronchi muscles go into a spasm, the result could be an asthma attack.
Imbalance of Electrolytes and Dehydration
Believe it or not, electrolytes such as chloride, magnesium, potassium, and sodium actually play a vital role in the contraction and relaxation of your muscles.
If you are suffering from an imbalance or deficiency in any of these, you could be disturbing the electrical impulses of the body, which could lead to muscle spasms or cramps.
Water carries these electrolytes to the various parts of the body. This means that dehydration will cause the electrolyte supply to be low, which also could cause severe muscle spasms- even in the chest.
Getting Relief from Muscle Spasms in the Chest
Keep in mind that water really does play a vital role in keeping the proper amount of electrolytes flowing through the whole body.
Make sure to drink seven to eight glasses of water each day to control your muscle spasms. You can also drink juices and other healthy drinks.
Warm baths and showers, focusing on the painful area could help to relax the muscles. This will serve to relieve the spams and therefore, reduce the pain.
Placing ice packs on the muscle that is in spams could help to relieve the pain, swelling, and soreness of the affected muscles.
Do what you can to avoid lifting heavy objects, as it can cause strain on your muscles that will cause further complications to the situation.
Know that the treatment for spasms in the chest depends on what exactly caused it. In order to figure out the cause, you will need to seek medical treatment.
Never ignore pain in your chest as it could be a symptom of a more serious condition. You should see your physician as soon as you experience any sort of pain in your chest.