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.
What Causes Torso Spasms?
Spasms felt throughout the chest and abdomen region can be caused by a wide variety of different issues.
Torso spasms can sometimes be caused by simple issues like overextension of the muscles during a workout, injury to the chest wall as a result of exercise, or dehydration.
But muscle spasms in the torso that are felt frequently and with increased intensity can also be a sign that you’re suffering from a more serious condition.
According to Mark R Laflamme, MD, an editor at Healthline, muscle spasms can also be a sign of multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS is typified by a number of symptoms, including double vision, fatigue, and a general feeling of weakness.
But one symptom of this disease felt by many MS suffers is called the MS hug, which is a painful tightening of the intercostal muscles.
These muscles are located between your ribs and keep your ribcage together while also providing you with flexibility.
An MS hug occurs when all of these muscles tighten at once, leading to a feeling of pressure all around the circumference of the torso.
The MS hug is also called the MS girdle or girdling due to the simultaneous feeling of pressure all around the torso. An MS hug can last for as little as a few seconds or can drag on for hours at a time.
Other conditions that could cause muscle spasms in the chest are fibromyalgia, dystonia, coronary spasms, or chronic abdominal stress. However, various systemic illnesses such as kidney failure and diabetes can also cause muscle spasms in the torso.
Why Is the Left Side of My Torso Spasming?
If you’re only experiencing muscle spasms on the left side of your torso, there could be a number of issues to blame.
If you’ve overworked that side of your chest, the explanation could be as simple as acute muscle stress which will dissipate over time.
If your left-side torso spasms are unrelenting, however, and especially if they are felt mostly in the lower abdominal region, you may be suffering from a condition called diverticulitis. If this is the case, you should see a doctor immediately.
According to Suzanne Falck, MD of Healthline, diverticulitis is a condition that is more prevalent in people over 40 and occurs when a weak section of the colon extends into a sac. This sac can rupture and cause infection, leading to muscle cramps.
Other signs of diverticulitis include fever, vomiting, and nausea, as well as abdominal tenderness.
If you have diverticulitis, you’ll generally experience many more symptoms above and beyond simple muscle spasms.
Other causes of lower abdominal spasms include gas, indigestion, a hernia, or kidney stones.
Kidney stones are mineral deposits that form in the kidneys and then make their way through the urinary tract, often causing intense pain and muscle spasms as they are passed.
Another common cause of muscle spasms on the left side of the torso is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
IBS often leads to pain in the colon, which is located on the left side of the abdomen, that can sometimes be accompanied by chronic spasming of the abdominal muscles.
Why Is My Entire Torso Cramping?
There are a number of conditions which may cause cramping throughout your entire torso.
As mentioned above, one of the most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis, the MS hug, is often felt all throughout the chest area and may even be felt down in the abdomen.
You may have also simply strained your chest musculature. This isn’t necessarily the result of working out too hard but can also be a result of stress, overwork, or lack of sleep.
Curing your chest cramps can sometimes be as simple as staying properly hydrated and getting a good night of sleep.
Some of the potential causes of cramping across the entire torso that we haven’t already covered include gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the digestive tract, and food poisoning, which occurs when you ingest something toxic with your food.
Tightening across the entire chest can also be felt in the case of a panic attack. A panic attack is when a person is completely overcome by a fear to the point that they are incapacitated.
Far from being a mere psychological condition, panic attacks can lead to severe muscular contractions.
Full-torso muscle spasms can also occur as a result of celiac disease, which is an intolerance to certain types of foods, and, in some cases, cancer.
If you feel that your muscle spasms may be caused by cancer, it is important that you meet with a physician right away.
How Do I Stop Torso Cramps?
Stopping cramps in the torso usually involves treating the specific condition that’s responsible for the cramps.
With so many potential causes of muscle spasms in the torso, treatment for this condition varies widely.
In one YouTube video on the subject, Dr. Rimmerman of the Cleveland Clinic goes over some of the common causes of chest discomfort and cramping.
Dr. Rimmerman is careful to point out that chest pain is often a sign of cardiac arrest and should, therefore, be taken with the utmost seriousness.
If your torso cramps are indeed caused by cardiac arrest, you’ll know very quickly and you should go to the hospital without delay.
If, however, your torso pain is caused by another issue, various treatment methods are available.
It always helps to make sure that you are properly hydrated, especially if you believe you may have overworked or overextended a muscle in your chest.
Adequate rest can also sometimes serve as a cure for chest pain causes as varied as diverticulitis and chronic stress, so getting a good night of sleep shouldn’t be overlooked as a potential cure.
Beyond these basic treatments, you may need a variety of different treatments based on the particular cause of your chest cramps.
While some causes of chest cramps are easy to treat and clear up quickly, many are the result of chronic conditions that may take a long time to recover from.
You should consult with a physician in order to better determine the exact cause of your chest pain and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
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 of 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 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 traveling through the coronary arteries.
The walls of the coronary artery actually have 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 are very uncommon and are 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 the 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.