What is a muscle spasm?
A spasm is an abrupt and sudden muscle pull which is why it is so painful, but thankfully most of them are short-lived. Ever had a very painful muscle pull in your calf muscles while exercising or swimming or sleeping? Night leg cramps are quite common among people of all ages. But did you know that spasms may affect many different types of muscles anywhere in your body not only legs, feet, and arms but also abdominal muscles and even your face and neck? So it is important to know how to stop muscle twitches, in general.
These sudden muscle pulls can lead to many different symptoms and conditions, so it is best to know why they occur ahead of time. The most common spasms happen in skeletal muscles, sometimes due to overuse, and at other times it is caused by dehydration, a poor diet or electrolyte abnormalities. There are several ways to prevent and counteract repeated muscle cramps and spasms occurring. First, let us look at simple reasons why you get muscle cramps.
Why do I get muscle cramps all the time?
A muscle spasm is a way for your body telling you that something isn’t right. Nipping this condition in the bud for the short-term is important, but so is taking care of some basic habits for the long-term. Otherwise, you will get frequent spasms in other parts of the body; it may not just be leg cramps. An abdominal spasm is a strong, involuntary muscle contraction in the abdomen. During a spasm, the muscle will feel stiff and tender on applying pressure. Often known as the “six-pack” this is a deep muscle tissue that feels tender and stiff for a longer time than other spasms. Ask yourself some basic questions to find the reason why a muscle pulled in your body and to prevent it in future.
- Stay Hydrated: Are you drinking enough healthy fluids? This is probably one of the most overlooked reasons why healthy folks get cramps – due to electrolyte imbalances. Drink at least 8 glasses of mineral water daily, even when you’re not thirsty, to keep your cells functioning properly so that essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals can distribute easily in the body. Moreover, your body needs enough magnesium, potassium and calcium to prevent muscle cramps.
- Eat right, eat healthy: Eating healthy should be your number one priority. Adding fruits, nuts and seeds to your diet is a must. Eat foods rich in calcium and magnesium such as milk and nuts. Minerals often don’t get absorbed by the body so we need to take dietary supplements, Vitamins and more. You can start off with
- Stretch every day: Do you have a desk job and are slumped up in an office chair all day long? Then get out of that comfy chair, stretch and walk about to improve your circulation. Go outside massage your muscles, and get some sun and oxygen into your lungs during tea breaks. Taking frequent breaks from the computer will also keep your eyes healthy, making you mentally alert and happy.
- Correct your posture: Do you walk like a penguin, or slouch when seated in your chair? Watch you posture as this will worsen any muscle spasms you may get. Rearrange the workstation, so you don’t lean forward to see your computer monitor or reach you mouse.
- Wear comfy footwear: Ladies, do you love your 3-inch heels more than your health? Style is important but so is your back, spine, and posture while you walk. So wear comfortable low heels and put less strain on your leg and back muscles as you walk.
- Manage pain: Getting occasional leg cramps? When you initially get cramps, take an over-the-counter pain killer (an acetaminophen) like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, or Calpol after meals. It will bring you immediate relief and work as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Bathe in warm water: Treat yourself to a long, relaxing hot bath with scented Epsom salts to relieve aches and pains everywhere.
- Ice packs or heated pads: Wrap a heated pad around your knees, legs, or middle to relieve common back pain or a pain from an injury.
- Kick bad habits: Give up smoking and drinking. Your body will be better able to absorb nutrients the less you smoke and drink alcohol. Eliminate consuming processed foods like chips and sugar from your diet.
- Good night’s rest and relaxation: Do you get easily stressed out? If you easily get affected by daily commuting, work, taking kids to school, household chores, then do something to unwind every day. Take a stroll in the park, do yoga, workout in the gym, watch an entertaining TV show or a good movie, or cuddle up with a good book. Most importantly, get 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night.
Image credit: http://www.crampdefense.com