Sometimes, you may experience a sharp muscle pain in your back or leg in the middle of the night. If you are not sure what it could be, it could simply a painful reflex muscle spasm. Muscle spasms are extremely common in almost all age groups, and it is a common sign that your body is stressed out. They affect different types of muscles in the body, thus leading to different symptoms. This article talks about what a muscle spasm actually is, what causes it, safe and effective medical remedies to try, and when you need to visit your doctor.

1. What is a muscle spasm?

Muscle spasms are diagnosed by chronic pain and stiffness in the affected part of the body. Medically speaking, stress provokes the nervous system to set off a defence mechanism called the protective muscle spasm reflex. As a result, the nerve impulses instruct the muscles to contract, causing a reflex muscle spasm. The muscle is unable to return to its original state, which compresses local blood vessels, which compromises on the flow of oxygen and nutrients.

The pain is generally localised in the affected spastic muscle, but the common symptoms include pain, slow muscle relaxation and tingling in the surrounding areas of the body. It can remain for a shorter period of time, or may persist for years.

2. What causes muscle spasms?

Muscle spasms can be caused by physical factors such as accidents and bad habits such as sleeping on one side and holding the phone to the ear with one shoulder. However, they can be caused by a number of other factors –

  • Muscle fatigue caused by prolonged exercise – Muscle spasms are common if the muscle is strained, tired or has been previously injured. Such cases are seen in athletes who have to exercise in hot and humid conditions.
  • Dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities – To work efficiently, muscles need water and other nutrients to help in muscle contraction. However, dehydration irritates these muscles and causes painful spasms. Low electrolyte symptoms are possible in the later stages of pregnancy, the use of certain diuretics, Vitamin D deficiency, endocrine issues and alcoholism.
  • Obesity and other illnesses – Obesity is a big stress-causing element for the body, and it affects the core trunk muscles, which leads to neck muscle and back cramps. Muscle spasms can be caused by serious illnesses such as anaemia, kidney diseases and diabetes along with other thyroid, nervous and hormonal issues.
  • Structural disorders – Leg cramps are common occurrences at night, which often have no reasons. Tight calf muscles, fluid accumulation in the lower leg and inactivity are other causes of having leg cramps.

3. When do you need to visit the doctor?

Though muscle cramps are generally harmless and go away on their own, some cases may require medical help. If your case matches with the symptoms given below, make the call to your doctor –

  • A body temperature of 38.9 degree Celsius or 102 degree Fahrenheit (high fever)
  • Accompaniment of acute pain
  • Chronic muscle contractions
  • Cramps that causes abnormal posture or twisting of body
  • Abnormal muscle contractures

4. What are the safe and effective ways to treat reflex muscle spasms?

The treatment of painful reflex muscle spasms involves blocking the nerve stimulation to the muscles. Conventional massages, exercise, heat or cold, joint adjustment and stretching may not help. Modern medical remedies include the Strain Counter Strain Technique, which requires the clinician to manually stop the nerve stimulation to the affected muscle, thus relieving joint pain.

Tolperisone hydrochloride treatment has also evolved as a safe and effective treatment for muscle spasms. It relaxes muscles without any sedating effects or withdrawal symptoms, and works by blocking mono and polysynaptic reflexes at the spinal level. The blocking action works rapidly, helping in relieving the pain stimulants from reaching the affected muscle. The dosage may vary, though the recommended dosage is 150 mg, three times daily (450 mg/day).  For more information you can follow tolperisone hydrochloride manufacturers guideline and safely used in serious health conditions.

Muscles spasms are a part of our daily lives, and there is much we can do to prevent it. One can also try the latest treatment available at a reasonable cost. With proper treatment and time, both acute and chronic muscle pain will vanish into a pain-free lifestyle.