What is a spasm?
A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction within the muscles of your body. This means that your muscles suddenly tighten without your conscious intent. A spasm can be painful and can last for a few seconds and potentially recur several times before disappearing. They can occur within any muscle of the body – from part of a muscle, up to several muscles within the same area. Anyone can experience a muscle spasm, however people who overexert their muscles are at higher risk.
Cause and diagnosis of spasms
Spasm may occur from:
- Working/exercising in a hot environment
- As a protective mechanism
- Poor posture
- Lack of proper stretching/warm up before exercise
- Muscle overuse
- Muscle injury
- Muscle fatigue
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Spinal disc issues
- Nerve problems
- Neurological disorders
Muscle spasms usually occur when the muscle is fatigued, overused or strained. If the body undergoes an injury to the muscles or bones, muscles spasms are the body’s way of protecting itself from further injury. Spasm pain generally self resolves within a week. If the pain persists for longer, you should get in touch with a soft tissue occupational therapist to get a proper diagnosis. Your soft tissue occupational therapist can diagnose spasm pain through postural assessments, movements and examining the affected area by muscle palpation.
Soft tissue and muscle spasm
The soft tissue of the body involves the muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and fascia, all which allow us to freely move and participate in activities. These soft tissues provide us the strength and flexibility to maintain our posture, and to support our movement. Unfortunately, the soft tissues of our body are prone to injuries such as: muscle tears, sprains, postural misalignments and other trauma. The Soft Tissue Occupational Therapists and Exercise Physiologists at Urban Health HQ specialise in the treatment of soft tissue injuries. All musculoskeletal injuries can occur during our day-to-day lives, from work, exercise, hobbies, and even sleep may cause soft tissue issues. Alongside these injuries, as we age, our soft tissues begin to deteriorate and may cause more spasm. This reduction in our soft tissue function often leads to disability and other negative consequences to our health and quality of life – if our body doesn’t allow us the function to do the things we love, this will then reduce our mental wellbeing. Therefore, it is important to look after our soft tissues and to maintain optimal strength throughout our lifespan.
To prevent muscle spasm in the future be sure to:
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially in a hot environment
- Take frequent breaks from activities that cause sustained postures (Eg: sitting at a desk)
- Warm up before and after exercise
- Warm up before and after manual labour
- Stretch during breaks
Treatments for muscle spasm relief
It is well researched that magnesium has a positive effects on muscle spasming. Cramps, and muscle twitches are both signs of a magnesium deficiency. It is estimated that 75% of people are not meeting their daily recommended magnesium intake. We recommend consulting with your local pharmacist and starting on a therapeutic dose of magnesium in the liquid form (aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms is absorbed more completely than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate). Magnesium plays a role in the transport of calcium and across all cell membranes, which is important for nerve conduction and muscle contraction.
Consult with an Exercise Physiologist
An exercise physiologist creates rehabilitation programs involving stretching, resistance and strengthening exercises. An Exercise Physiologist designs exercises to prevents disease and medical conditions, improves the strength and endurance of your body, and to help you recover from an injury or other conditions. Exercise advice is individualised to your needs, as your exercise physiologist will assess your individual ability, health, goals and rehabilitation needs. Your exercise physiologist will design and deliver safe exercises for you and evaluate the exercises to maintain its safety and efficacy.
Consult with a Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist
Soft tissue occupational therapy treatment is ‘hands-on’ and focuses on treating musculoskeletal disorders of the body through diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. The overall aim of therapy is to heal and restore function to injured and weakened body parts, as well as to aid and promote wellbeing. Your soft tissue occupational therapist can diagnose the cause of your muscle spasms and provide effective muscle spasm relief. This is done through myofascial release and trigger point release massage therapy.
At Urban Health HQ our highly trained Soft Tissue Occupational Therapists and Exercise Physiologist will help treat your injuries, conditions or any concerns you may have. You can make an appointment today or contact us by calling 0411 563 391 or email firstname.lastname@example.org