Last week we talked about a muscle pull, how to treat and prevent it. This week we will talk about another ubiquitous condition. Muscle Spasm. It seems to be a word tossed around frequently nowadays and more so it appears to be a frequent occurrence with many. What exactly is it?
Have you ever bent over to pick something from the floor and on coming up you cannot stand up straight. Or, maybe even go to sleep and in the morning you can’t turn your neck! You must have wondered “what is happening to me?”
A muscle spasm is a sudden and involuntary contraction, tightening or shaking of a muscle. Usually occurs as a result of trauma, strain, overuse, weakness or pain. It usually causes limitation of movement on the particular area where it has occurred.
Muscle spasms often occur in response to another condition, or as a result of pain, fatigue or overuse.
Some of the most common causes would be:
•Muscle strain or fatigue
•Increased physical exertion
•Stress, and having tense muscles
•As the result of a fracture
•Conditions that degenerate or put pressure on the inter-vertebral discs
•Trauma such as a motor vehicle accident.
If you suffer a muscle spasm, the initial treatment consists of avoiding the positions and activities that produce the pain. Conservative treatment is usually recommended that includes rest and immobilisation, ice and physiotherapy.
In mild cases rest and ice may be enough to reduce the pain. Physical therapy is however recommended to develop a series of postural, stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent re-occurrence of the injury. Return to activity should be gradual to prevent a return of symptoms.
Moderate to severe
If the symptoms persist a thorough evaluation should be done to determine the possible cause of your symptoms, the structures involved, the severity of the condition, and the best course of treatment.
Now you know what a muscle spasm is and what to do when it happens!
Eunice Kabana, Physical Therapist, Chiropractic And Physiotherapy Health Centre.