WHAT CAUSES MUSCLE SPASMS…

muscle-spasm-treatmentHave you felt a painful tightness in your back when getting out of bed, in your neck after sitting at your computer for an extended amount of time or in your leg after doing a little too much vacuuming? These symptoms can occur when a muscle becomes rigid, contracts involuntarily and goes into spasm. Muscle spasms usually affect the back, neck, legs, shoulder, knees or abdominal muscles. A spasm is a sudden and often painful occurrence. Pain during a muscle spasm ranges from mild to severe and can last up to 10 minutes.

There are many factors or causes (stresses) contributing to muscle spasm symptoms. These stresses can be physical, chemical and/or emotional in nature. Physical stress may include prolonged or strenuous exercise, poor posture (sleeping, resting or working), an “old” mattress, the birthing process, pregnancy, sneezing, spinal trauma or lifting, and may result in spinal misalignments (vertebral subluxations). Chemical stress may include pollution, pesticides, drugs, alcohol, smoking, dehydration and nutritional deficiencies (magnesium, calcium or potassium). Emotional stress includes anxiety, panic attacks, frustration and anger. Additional factors include cold weather (draft on the neck), poor circulation (legs) or a medical condition (Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, IBS, seizures, ruptured disk, etc.). It is vital to detect what causes muscle spasms for you!

Common muscle spasm symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness or loss of function
  • Abnormal muscle rigidity
  • Trouble moving, turning or bending (neck, shoulder or back)
  • Pain in the affected area

Successful muscle spasm treatment is based upon the cause. At AIMS, we believe structural and muscular balance, a healthy diet and exercise are vital. Recommendations on how to successfully treat muscle spasms are listed below:

  • Anti-inflammatory or anti-spasmodic medication: Medication can relieve the muscle spasm, but should be used in conjunction with alternative therapy – such as physical therapy, chiropractic care and nutritional support.
  • Trigger Point Injections: Injections are placed directly into the belly of the muscle – to break up the spasm, thus allowing for additional therapies.
  • Physical Therapy: The AIMS Physical Therapy Clinic is known for outstanding physical therapy and rehabilitation services. We help patients build strength, flexibility and endurance by combining strength training exercises and stretching, electrical stimulation, Tens Unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), moist heat/Cryotherapy, manual therapy – which includes soft tissue work (massage that relaxes muscles by increasing circulation and easing pain) and mobilization (gentle movements to  loosen tight tissues around a joint), massage therapy (improves blood flow), neuromuscular re-education and/or ultrasound.
  • Diet and Nutritional Support: If a potassium deficiency is detected, then foods such as bananas, potatoes, prune juice, dried fruit, etc. may be recommended. In addition, calcium fortified foods – seafood, almonds, flaxseed, oats, prunes, sesame seeds, tofu, etc. may help prevent muscle spasms. Acidic foods and beverages (tomatoes and vinegar) may block the body’s ability to absorb calcium – so they should be avoided. At AIMS, a customized nutritional program can be created by our Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist.
  • Chiropractic Care: Improves posture and restores spinal balance by utilizing joint manipulation, soft tissue manipulation, hot and cold treatments, electrical stimulation of the affected muscle and/or ultrasound.

Below are some helpful tips to avoid developing muscle spasms:

  • Stretch: Keeps your muscles loose and flexible!
  • Maintain good posture!
  • Pace your activities and rest during the day.
  • Hot bath/shower and dress appropriately: Keep muscles warm when the weather is colder.
  • Drink enough fluids (water) so that you can avoid muscle spasm and cramping during exercise.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Reduces tension and stress!

Education and prevention are key to good health. Therefore to prevent muscle spasms, it is vital to eliminate or reduce interference between the brain and muscles, because… the brain controls how muscles work. If there is a spinal misalignment, nerve tissue can become compressed or stretched, decreasing the ability of the brain to transfer information to the muscles and organs of the body. If a spinal misalignment is not corrected, muscle spasms may continue.

At the AIMS Clinic, our Chiropractic Physicians correct spinal misalignments (vertebral subluxations) utilizing chiropractic spinal adjustments. Adjustments remove stress from the spine and related nerves and tissues (muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and other soft tissues). Once the spine is adjusted, the head becomes better balanced in relationship with gravity, hips and shoulders become more level and stress is removed or reduced from joints and muscles in the body. The result… more energy, increased range of motion, improved relaxation – and muscle spasm elimination or reduction!

If you’re suffering with muscle spasms in back, muscle spasms in neck, legs, shoulder, knees or abdominal muscles… we can help. Our Healthcare Team of Board Certified Medical Physicians, Physical Therapists, Chiropractic Physicians, a Naturopathic Physician and Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist can create a customized muscle spasm treatment program and explain how to treat muscle spasms – specifically for your needs and considerations. The program may include short-term medication, trigger point injections, corrective exercises, proper ergonomic and posture education, joint protection, soft tissue work, stretches, joint mobilizations, nutritional support, modalities (moist heat, cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, etc.) and a homecare program.

Call New Jersey’s own Alternative Integrated Medical Services today at 732-254-5553 and receive a FREE Initial Consultation. Our goal is to provide the most advanced and compassionate pain relief. Our Team of Experts and friendly staff at your local East Brunswick, NJ AIMS Clinic, will help you reduce or eliminate pain and improve function. As our patient, we will teach you how to regain your health with our revolutionary new treatment program.