It is believed that approximately 95% of the people will experience muscle spasms at least once throughout their lifetime.
In general, muscle spasms are not dangerous, but even so, they can be extremely painful. How do you get rid of them at home? Read on and find out more.
Muscle Spasms Explained
Before you even proceed to reading about the things you could do at home to alleviate the pain caused by muscle spasms, you should first try to understand them better because this will give you an explanation on why exactly you should be doing certain things to make the pain go away.
Explained simply, muscle spasms are involuntary contractions of the muscles that are not followed by a normal relaxation.
Basically, what happens is that the fibers that constitute the muscle (or a group of muscles, for that matter) all contract at the very same time, which causes pain.
One such spasm can last a few seconds, but in the worst case scenario the pain can be extended to a few hours.
There are many types of muscle spasms. As mentioned before, most of them are not dangerous and are not caused by very serious conditions.
However, there are some that may be a sign of an underlying condition – and it is worth knowing about them too. Mainly, there are 3 types of muscle spasms, as it follows:
These are probably the most commonly encountered spasms and they are caused by the sudden contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. This sudden contraction can also be caused by various factors, including:
A lot of activity. When you exercise, it is essential that you warm up beforehand and that you do not over-work your body out because this can cause your muscles to contract without relaxation.
Believe it or not, your body needs a lot of water and the 8 glasses of water every day the doctors recommend are really, really helpful.
When your body lacks water (either because you have not provided it with enough of it or because you have exercised vigorously), muscle spasms can appear as well.
Nutritional deficiencies. A healthy diet is more than important – and not just for the way in which you look, but for your entire body (and mind, by the way).
To keep your muscles healthy, make sure you get your vitamin D, vitamin B and vitamin E because the lack of these vitamins in the body can lead to muscle spasms.
Some forms of injury can also lead to muscle spasms because the muscles want to isolate the injured spot.
2- Tetany spasms
The name of this type of spasms comes from the toxin called “tetanus”, which affects the nerves. Consequently, the nerves will send signals to the muscles and they will contract involuntarily.
However, do keep in mind that tetany spasms can be caused by other factors as well, and not just by the tetanus toxin.
3- Dystonic spasms
These spasms appear when muscles that are not necessary for a particular movement are stimulated to contract.
For example, the hands can be affected by these spasms when they perform repetitive movements (typing, handwriting and so on).
Dystonic spasms can be connected to a series of neurological issues that come under the general name of “dystonias”.
How to Treat Muscle Spasms at Home
There are a lot of types of home remedies that can be applied when experiencing a muscle spasm.
However, do keep in mind the fact that, if you notice the spasm to persist or to be recurrent, you should still try to visit a doctor and maybe have some blood tests done (for instance, the reason of your recurrent spasms may be related to a vitamin deficiency, case in which the doctor may be able to recommend you with supplements).
Following, you will be presented with some of the best home remedies to try out when a muscle spasm appears:
1- Stretching and massaging
Use one hand to stretch the muscle that is hurting and the other one to gently massage its center. You will most likely feel a hardened part – that is where the muscle contracted and did not “come back”.
2- Leg muscle spasm
If the muscle spasm you experience is on a leg muscle, don’t try to exercise too much because that could make the things worse. Instead, take a walk. The muscles will easily warm up and come back to their normal shape.
3- Take a cold shower
If you know for sure that you have overworked your muscles, take a cold shower because that will lower the chances you experience painful spasms.
Your muscle spasm may have been caused by dehydration as well, so do make sure you drink plenty of liquids. Yet, do keep in mind that caffeine drinks are not recommended and that the best way to go around this is to simply drink water.
5- Hot pad
Apply a hot pad on the area that is painful. If you don’t have a hot pad around, any bottle filled with hot water will do just fine.
Relaxation exercises, such as the “progressive” ones can be very efficient as well. This relaxation technique involves you contracting and then relaxing particular large groups of muscles progressively.
7- Time to rest
Take a break. It is recommended that you don’t try to move too much and that you simply rest. Take a book and read it, watch a movie or simply listen to some music – the point is that this is not the time to be overly active.
However, make sure that you are somewhat active at least, so that you exercise the muscle to come back to its normal state.
Again, it is very important that you visit your doctor if you notice your muscle spasm has been present for too long or if you notice that the spasms are occurring with a certain degree of frequency because in these cases, your doctor may be able to help you with treatment.