A muscle spasm refers to the involuntary and mostly sudden contraction of a muscle. The spasms can occur in any body part or the muscle of the body. These muscles can include the calf, the hands, the back, thigh i.e. the skeletal muscles; or even the digestive tract or other smooth muscle types.
The causes for muscle spasms are again numerous but most common reasons associated with muscle spasms include dehydration, depletion of the necessary electrolytes from the body and/ or an excessive overload of the respective muscle.
It is very important the muscle spasms be treated to avoid further inconvenience and bodily harm. Below given are some of the ways to treat muscle spasms effectively:
- In most cases, the spasm occurs due to a strain which may take a few days time to completely recover. This happens mostly in case of back spasms. In such a situation it is suggested that you rest for a while and let the muscle regain tenderness.
- The first step to treating a muscle spasm is to stop all activities the moment the spasm occurs. At the first sign of the occurrence of the spasm try to rub the area or message it. This is supposed to relax the respective muscle and restore regular blood flow to the region to curb the contraction.
- Stretching is one of the best ways to treat muscle spasms. As stated above, spasms are a form of muscle contraction. Stretching the muscle can hence relieve the contraction and bring relief from the pain. The idea is to stretch the muscle in the opposite direction of the contraction and elongate the muscle. But be cautious of over-stretching the muscle. It is suggested that you hold the stretch for about 30 seconds in general.
- The use of cold press and heating pads is also common, as a way to treat muscle spasms. The heat from the heating pads causes the contracted muscle to relax and hence averts the spasm. The cold of the cold press on the other hands works well with curbing the swelling from and the pain caused by the spasm.
As per experts, you must use heat on the affected region if you are going to be functioning with that muscle afterwards. And use the ice pack etc. cold, when you are going to be resting afterwards.
- Since one of the causes of muscle spasms is said to be dehydration, a way to treat them also includes consumption of ample fluids and electrolytes. Many minerals including sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium are all needed for the muscles to function, contract and relax properly. Drinking water and other electrolytes help in replenishing these minerals and hence help get rid of the spasm.
- In cases when the pain for the spasm is excruciatingly high, the use of over the counter pain killers is also an effective way to treat them. Another way is to consume the anti-inflammatory medications which reduce the swelling and inflammation in the affected areas.