Muscle Spasms

What Causes Muscle Spasms & What You can Do To Prevent Them

An athletic woman holds her back at a parkA muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction or movement of one or more muscles. Muscle spasms are also commonly called muscle cramps. They occur suddenly without any warning and sometimes, without any apparent cause either. Spasms are painful and can make any movement using that muscle impossible.

Do you often suffer from muscle cramps that stop you from enjoying what you are doing? At Lakeland Spine Center, our experienced staff will help you first identify the cause and recommend effective measures that you can take to prevent this from happening. Call us today so you can put an end to painful muscle spasms and get on living life to the fullest.

What Causes Muscle Spasms?

There are several different causative factors, the most common of which is overuse of the muscle, either from repetitive motion or strenuous exercise. Let’s take a look at each of the causes and why they cause muscle pain.

Strenuous exercise: When you engage in heavy exercise, it can over-stimulate the muscles, causing them to cramp up. The odds of a cramping up are higher if you do not replenish lost fluids while exercising as the muscles get dehydrated. Excessive running, biking and other physical activities such as extreme hiking, which can tax the leg muscles, can result in leg pain and joint pain caused by leg muscle spasm. When this happens, you need to take a break from the activity and stretch the affected muscle very slowly, till the pain goes away. It usually just takes only a few minutes.

Compression of the Nerve: Sometimes, if the spinal canal is narrower than usual, the narrow canal tends to compress the spinal nerves, resulting in pinched nerves. Depending on which nerves are pressed, you could suffer from neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain or lower back pain. The pain often worsens with any kind of movement or activity that entails using the muscle or muscles involved.

Impaired Blood Supply: Muscles tend to cramp up when they do not receive adequate supply of blood due to narrowing of the blood vessels. This is because impaired blood supply means the muscles are not getting the oxygen and nutrients that they need to function as they should.

Neuromuscular Disorders or Movement Disorders: Neuromuscular disorders such as spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis can trigger off muscle spasms as can movement disorders, also known as dystonias, which result in vigorous muscular contractions.

Muscle spasms could also be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition or disorder and it is best to consult with a doctor at the earliest if the spasms recur frequently or last for long periods of time.