The Aches in Aging – Part 3: Muscle Spasms


LiveMD offers advice on how to deal with the aches and pains associated with getting older

As we age, it is common that our bodies begin to experience certain aches that were once not an issue when we were younger. Joint pain, back and neck pain, muscle spasms and pain, nerve pain and the pain of arthritis are all afflictions that can start to affect us the older we get. LiveMD offers advice on how to deal with these issues and find the relief needed to live a pain free life.

In this session we will discuss the pain and discomforts of muscle spasms, their causes and how to treat them.

What is a muscle spasm?

A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle that usually comes on quite quickly and can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Although they are unpleasant and can often restrict movement, they are usually harmless and will resolve on their own in a relatively short period of time. These spasms can occur in any muscle of the body but are most common in the legs and back.

What can cause a muscle spasm?

There are many different reasons that a muscle spasm may occur. When a muscle is overused or tired, or if it is held still, in the same position for a period of time, it may begin to spasm. Trauma, injury or new activities or exercises can also cause muscles to twitch and spasm. A muscle spasm can also occur from deficiencies in certain minerals or as a side effect from taking certain medications.

What can I do to cure a muscle spasm?

Simple activities like gentle stretching can help to calm a tight muscle and stop a spasm. Very slowly, try stretching out the muscle involved. If it is your calf muscle, try sitting down and curling your toes towards your head until you feel a gentle pull in the back of your leg. If the cramping is in your back, try bending down to touch your toes or reaching your hands above your head. These stretches should be done with care. Try to avoid sudden or severe movements as they may cause the spasm to worsen.

If gentle exercises don’t provide enough relief, a prescription or over-the-counter muscle relaxant will help to calm the spasm and relax the muscles involved. Heat can also be applied to the affected area and should help to relieve some of the pain.

If you are experiencing frequent muscle spasm for no apparent reason, the underlying cause may be a deficiency in important minerals in your diet. A lack of magnesium is one of the most common causes for chronic muscle cramps and spasms. Lack of potassium or calcium may also be the culprit. These minerals can be purchased in pill form at your local drug store.

Another cause of chronic spasms may be the result of a side effect from a prescription medication. Medications used to treat cholesterol, diuretics (“water pills”),  asthma medications, some blood pressure pills and some alzheimers medications can cause cramping and spasms of the muscles as well.

If you are experiencing muscle spasms and are in pain or are experiencing frequent, recurring spasms, it is time to speak with a doctor. The team of doctors at LiveMD are here to assist you and relieve your pain, all from the comfort of your own home. Schedule a live, online video chat or text your questions without the hassle of waiting at a medical clinic. Visit today and be pain free tomorrow.

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March 27th, 2016 by