A Complete Guide on Painful Muscle Spasms, it Causes, Treatment and Prevention
As the summer sun scorches you with its full intensity, your muscles bear the brunt. If you perform strenuous physical activities in such weather conditions, it can more often than not, lead to muscle strain. Knowing the causes, treatment methods and ways to prevent it could help you cope with these painful episodes.
What is a Muscle Cramp?
Muscle cramp is a condition where your muscle contracts involuntarily and remains in that state for a prolonged period. If the contraction subsides soon it is known as a spasm. Spasms and cramps most commonly affect your calf muscles. Other skeletal muscles that provide support to your neck, head and back can also get cramped. Involuntary muscles that line the uterus, blood vessels and the bronchial tree could be affected by cramps as well.
Types and Causes of Muscle Cramps
There are 3 common types of muscle spasms. They are:
- True Cramps – This type of cramp affects either a part, a group, or the entire skeletal muscles. It is caused by:
- Hyperexcitability of the nerve (interruption of the electrical impulses being transmitted through your nerves)
- Injury or vigorous activity
- Deficiency of calcium, magnesium, and potassium in your blood
- Tetany – This is a condition that is most commonly caused by hypocalcemia, a disease which reduces the amount of calcium in your blood. This leads to painful muscle spasms throughout your body and is also accompanied by symptoms like vomiting, convulsions and seizures.
- Dystonia – This is an extremely rare condition where your muscles contract uncontrollably. The exact cause for this condition has not yet been established, but it is believed that it is initiated by a problem in your basal ganglia (the part of the brain responsible for starting muscle contractions). Such problems can be caused by a stroke, lack of oxygen, drug reaction, infection or even poisonin
- Treatment for Muscle Cramps
- Muscle cramps can be treated in the following ways:
- Quick Fixes you can do at Home – Home remedies for muscle spasms include stretching and massaging your affected muscle and applying hot or cold compression. These could help in alleviating the pain and stiffness.
- Muscle Relaxants – Treatment for severe leg cramps can also be performed using certain muscle relaxant medications such as cyclobenzaprine, baclofen, and orphenadrine.
- Botox for cramp relief – Recent research suggests that Botox injections help in treating muscle disorders that may occur due to dystonia. This could provide relief from your condition for several months after which another injection could be administered.