You reach for a towel on the top shelf of the linen closet and your back wrenches in pain as a muscle goes into spasm. The pain is excruciating and you can barely move. How could something as simple as reaching for a towel produce such pain?
The answer is – it didn’t. Reaching for the towel overextended a muscle that was already strained. This made the muscle stiffen and go into spasm to protect it from any further harm. Muscles can become strained due to repetitive movements or habits, such as poor posture, heavy lifting, swinging a baseball bat or sitting in front of a computer.
Often, when muscles have been strained for some time, all it takes is one sudden movement (i.e., one stretch for a towel) for an already strained muscle to go into spasm. When this happens, all the muscle fibers contract at the same time. Muscle contraction cuts off blood supply, which creates even more muscle pain, causing the muscle to contract even further. This is an all too common occurrence for some people who lie immobilized on the floor for hours because the muscle doesn’t relax with movement.
Help for Your Muscle Spasms
It can take several weeks for a muscle spasm to subside, so try the following to help the healing process.
- Apply ice/heat and try massage therapy to assist in pain relief.
- Since a lack of magnesium, calcium and water are thought to provoke muscle spasms, increasing your intake of all three may help as well.
- Seek chiropractic care.
Chiropractic care helps to alleviate the cause of muscle spasm once it is present as well as helping to prevent it from occurring in the first place! Proper nerve function is essential to proper muscle function, and chiropractic adjustments locate and correct areas of the spine where there is nerve dysfunction.