Muscle Spasms: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Muscle Spasms: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Most of us have dealt with muscle spasms or cramps and twitches as we go about our everyday lives. Spasms are sudden involuntary muscle contractions that are often painful and can incapacitate us for short periods of time. They often occur in the muscles of our legs and feet but can also occur in our abdominal muscles, ribs, and arms. Medical experts believe that the most common reason for the occurrence of spasms and cramps may be due to dehydration, while there could be other reasons such as side effects of medications or a pinched nerve. Spam tends to occur more frequently with advancing age but can also occur in younger and active athletes.

To understand the mechanics of these spasms and cramps, one must understand the basic physiology of our cells. Muscle and Nerve cells function by utilizing many nutrients chief among them are minerals such as Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, and Sodium besides other micro-nutrients. These are constantly lost by sweat and urine during exercise causing an imbalance in our system and thus must be replenished constantly. Among these minerals, Magnesium plays a critical role in regulating many enzyme and hormone functions in our cells. Legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and seeds are loaded with vitamins and minerals. A healthy balanced diet can prevent nutritional deficiencies. Please refer to FDA and USDA websites for RDA (Required Daily Allowance) and nutritional information.

Muscle Spasms

According to doctors, stretching and massaging the respective muscle(s) besides hydrating well before and after exercise offers temporary relief. For those with mineral deficiencies and poor diets, replenishing the above minerals is necessary to overcome frequent spasms and cramps. To ensure the electrolyte profiles are in the normal range. it’s best to obtain a comprehensive metabolic profile blood test.

While people are used to consuming popular artificial sports drinks, coconut water has become the go-to sports drink for the health-conscious. Coconut water is a natural drink that has a balanced mineral nutrient profile that can restore electrolyte balance. Many brands of coconut water are now available in local grocery stores. It is advised to choose a brand with no added sugar and preservatives especially those with diabetes.

For those who have severe spasms and or those who exercise rigorously, a magnesium supplement is appropriate per medical professionals. Magnesium regulates the release of the hormones that affect sleep, like serotonin and melatonin thus relaxing muscles, calming the mind, and even balancing blood sugar. Many brands offer magnesium supplement combinations such as Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Glycinate, and Magnesium Threonate at various dosages.

According to studies, some of these are more bio-available and hence absorbable by our body tissues. Magnesium Citrate and Magnesium Glycinate are found to have broad absorption profiles and are tolerable. Some supplements could interact with prescription medications such as blood pressure, diuretics, and or heart medications. People with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease should avoid taking supplements without professional medical consultation. Choose a brand that is certified by USP (US Pharmacopeia).

While muscle spasms are temporary in most cases, they can also be symptoms of more serious undiagnosed medical conditions such as kidney disease, muscle or nerve disorders, or any other rare syndromes. Hence it is advised to always consult your personal board-certified physician to accurately diagnose your own situation before taking any over-the-counter supplements. For more accurate information about supplements, it is recommended to review extensive research information on trusted medical websites such as Mayo Clinic, Harvard Health, or Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. (This report aggregated information from various published reports and private sources).