What Causes Muscles Spasms?

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muscle spasm

Muscle spasms are incredibly painful. These spasms often come without warning and can completely derail any kind of physical activity until the muscle returns to normal.

Often times a muscle spasm appears more serious than it actually is, yet someone partaking in an athletic activity typically can return back to participating later in the game. By understanding what causes muscle spasms, it is possible to reduce your chances of experiencing one.

Follow these basic guidelines and you’ll significantly cut down on your chances of experiencing a spasm.

What Muscles Can Be Affected By a Spasm?

Any muscle in the body can realistically experience a muscle spasm. Now, skeletal muscles are more likely to be affected, especially during an athletic activity.

What Happens During a Muscle Spasm

If the muscles cells run out of energy and becomes dehydrated, the cells become what is known as hyperexcitable. This means the cells are forcefully contracted. The sudden contraction of the muscle cells causes the muscle to spasm and lock down on itself.

Sometimes athletes can completely drop or pass out due to no longer having any energy left. A spasm is similar to this, but only in one particular muscle.

What Causes Muscle Spasms?

When a skeletal muscle experiences muscle spasms, there are a handful of potential culprits. First, it may simply be due to overuse. For athletes, it may strike out of nowhere without any warnings.

By taking care to avoid the other culprits behind spasms it cuts down on the potentially of experiencing a spasm from overuse, but it does not completely eliminate the chance.

Other causes may be from dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. This is why consuming water throughout an athletic activity is important. Keeping the body hydrated will help prevent the muscle spasm and the muscle from locking up.

Sports drinks can help with the delivery of electrolytes, but realistically a sports drink should only be consumed during vigorous activities. Otherwise, the sodium found in the sports drink can prove counterproductive. Foods such as fruits (like oranges) can help deliver electrolytes to the body without the aid of additional sodium,

Smooth muscles are muscles found within organs, such as the colon, intestines and other areas of the body. These muscles can also experience the occasional spasm. However, these muscles spasm for a different reason entirely.

These spasms stem from a variety of causes. Menstrual cramps are a form of muscle spasms, yet this has nothing to do (typically) with being dehydrated or from overuse.

Avoiding Muscle Spasms

Staying hydrated is one of the best methods for avoiding muscle spasms. Knowing your physical limits can also help as well, so you don’t go too far beyond your own boundaries.

If you are taking part in an extensive physical activity, consider consuming an energy drink or take in electrolytes through fruit and supplements during breaks.

You don’t want to overstretch your body. Overstretching the muscles can lead to muscle spasms. Loosening up your muscles is important, which is why a general warm up is important.

However, extensive stretching may make you more susceptible to spasms. This is because an athletic caused spasm is more likely to occur when the muscle is thinned out and overstretched. When this occurs the muscle is more likely to tire.

Muscle spasms are painful and yet often do not last long. The best to avoid a spasm is to take preventative measures. While it isn’t always possible to completely eliminate the chance of experiencing a spasm, you can greatly reduce these chances.

By following through with these different tips, you’ll be able to identify warning signs for potential spasms and cut down on your chances of experiencing one.

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Jennifer has been a health writer and editor for 7 years. She has contributed to many national magazines and web sites, including Fitness, Health, Reader Digest, Shape and many more.

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