Health Female Adda
9 months ago
Why we suffer from muscle spasm, a doctor explains!

Sometimes we wonder why a certain part of our body goes into spasm and we have no control over it. Since these episodes don’t last for long we kind of tend to forget about it. But at times they vie for our attention when it pains or drives us into inaction if that part of the body renders immobile after a sporadic spasm episode. Here Dr Miten Sheth, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, The Knee Clinic, Mumbai, explains why a spasm happens:

‘Muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of any muscle — skeletal or smooth muscle. A spasm occurs abruptly, is painful, and is usually short-lived. Spasms may occur when a muscle is overused, tired, previously injured, or strained. The spasm may occur if the muscle has been overstretched or if it has been held in the same position for a prolonged period of time. In effect, the muscle cell runs out of energy and fluid and becomes hyper excitable, resulting in a forceful contraction.

‘Spasms of smooth muscles that are within the walls of hollow organs (like the stomach) lead to pain that is colicky, meaning that it comes and goes like that of the pain associated with menstrual cramps, diarrhoea, gallbladder pain, and passing a kidney stone.

‘When we talk of muscle spasms we generally talk of skeletal muscle spasms like neck spasm, lower back sprain and calf cramps. Spasms of skeletal muscles are due to overuse and muscle fatigue, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities. It may be relieved by gently stretching the muscle.’

What you can do:

‘Overuse as a cause of skeletal muscle spasm is often seen in athletes who are doing strenuous exercise in a hot environment. This is also an occupational issue with construction workers or others working in a hot environment. Precaution is better than cure. So high-intensity exercises in warm climates or temperature are to be avoided especially by weekend warriors and occasional athletes. For a sudden muscle spasm on the road, a gentle attempt at passive stretching can be done, but massage must be avoided. ORS sachets, orange juice, in fact just plain water may also help reduce dehydration,’ says Dr Shah.

Image source: Shutterstock

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