Muscle spasms and cramps occur when a muscle contracts involuntarily. These contractions are painful and can last until the muscle begins to relax. Muscle cramps and spasms can occur at any age and in healthy individuals, particularly after long periods of activity or when a person is dehydrated.
Causes of Muscle Cramps and Spasms
There are many causes of muscle cramps, the majority of which are not a cause for concern including:
• Muscle strain
• Being in one position for a long period of time
Getting adequate hydration, stretching, and slowly increasing the amount of exercise you receive can all help to decrease the chance of developing a cramp. Cramps and spasms may also be caused by a number of medical conditions:
• Blood supply issues – Adequate blood supply is a must in order to keep your muscles in good working condition. Issues with arteries can decrease blood flow and result in cramps during or after exercise.
• Nerve issues – The nerves for your entire body travel along your spinal column. If the nerves that go to the legs become pinched, muscle cramps and spasms in the legs can occur.
• Nutritional issues – Inadequate levels of certain vitamins and minerals can result in muscle spasms and cramps. Specifically, having low levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium can result in muscle cramps.
Treating Muscle Cramps and Spasms
Although they are painful, treating cramps and spasms can usually be done at home. Staying hydrated by drinking water can help to avoid and remedy cramps. Stretching prior to exercise can also reduce the likelihood of developing cramps. Muscle cramps that interrupt sleep or which do not respond to other methods may be treated with medication or more invasive methods.
Schedule an appointment today to begin the process to finding relief from muscle spasms and cramps. NY Neurology Associate’s team of Board Certified physicians are uniquely qualified to address and treat these issues.