Muscle spasms are an involuntary contraction of the muscles that cause much pain. They usually occur after overworking causing fatigue or electrolyte abnormalities although many reasons can be responsible depending on location. Spasm occurs abruptly and last for only a short time but are very painful.
Causes of muscle spasms
Here are the common reasons why muscles spasms occur.
Lack of blood and nutrients
Muscles fail to receive enough oxygen, blood, and electrolytes due to poor circulation. High levels of inflammation on the muscles also deny them of the blood and oxygen. Poor shape of the arteries is the reason for poor circulation. It cuts off the supply of much blood to the limbs. Muscles that do not have enough blood, oxygen, and electrolytes are unstable and more prone to spasms. The furthest body parts from the heart including the calves, ankles, and toes get more muscle spasms. Arteriosclerosis a condition causing hardening and thickening of artery walls reduces blood supply in the legs leading to muscle cramps.
A low fluid intake reduces the amount available to the body for circulation. When you run low on body fluids, and experience dehydration, the body draws fluid away from the muscles. Muscles with inadequate fluid will lack the supply of adequate electrolytes and will spasm. Drinking too many diuretics contributes to dehydration by increasing loss of more fluid by urination. Diuretics include alcohol, some prescription medicine, and certain herbal teas.
The connection between dehydration and muscle spasms is that muscles connect too many nerves and jointly control most of the movements by body parts. Muscles function appropriately when surrounded by adequate water and sodium. Dehydration occurs when the water sodium ratio goes off the mark. The muscles become hypersensitive and start contracting involuntarily.
Taking enough water per day helps to keep vital fluids in the body parts that are necessary for survival such as the brain, heart or kidney and those that support movement such as the muscles.
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Low electrolyte levels
Minerals enable the muscles to move, relax and contract. Low calcium, potassium or magnesium deficiency might cause painful muscle spasms. A poor diet or exercises are some of the ways that deplete minerals. A nutritious diet that prevents muscle spasms should have fruits, vegetables and high content of sodium. Some medications cause changes and reduction of electrolyte levels.
Medications that treat high blood pressure are some of those that reduce electrolyte levels and affect the proper functioning of the muscles.
Pinching and compression of nerves
Compression or pinching of nerves in the spine can sometimes cause muscle cramps in the lower back and leg muscles. Poor posture can also trigger spasms after sudden movement or change of positions by increasing stress accumulation in the lumbar stenos (spine).
Spasms are likely to occur after holding one position for a long time or sitting with a bad posture that strains the neck or lower back for an extended period.
Overuse of muscles
Overworking the muscles can cause acute cramps such ad hurting the back, twisting or spraining the ankle. People with an activity-oriented life or athletes are more likely to overuse their muscles and experience spasms. The reason is that they use some muscles repeatedly without enough time between activities to allow healing. Bursitis and tendonitis are two types of muscle pulls that occur due to overuse and cause severe spasms.
Pregnancy can at times make pregnant women get muscles cramps because calcium levels in their bodies are low. Some women also get muscles spasms before the beginning of their menstrual cycle.
Existing medical condition
Some medical conditions that affect fluid levels can cause muscle spasms by reducing the amount that the body requires for circulation. Medical contains that minimize body fluid include liver disease, diabetes, and thyroid disorder.
Sorting out the causes of muscles spasms helps to rid the problem. If lifestyle changes do not resolve muscles spasm and they continue occurring frequently, it could be a sign of underlying severe conditions that require a diagnosis by a doctor.
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