How Can I Relieve Muscle Spasms?

The potassium in bananas can relieve muscle spasms.
Apply a cold compress to an area with muscle spasms to help reduce swelling and pain.
A man having a muscle spasm.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 June 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Muscle spasms can be debilitating in their level of painfulness, which is why it helps to know about some quick ways to relieve muscle spasms. If you experience muscle spasms frequently, you should see a doctor, as they may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Extremely painful spasms, especially in the neck and back, can be a sign of a serious problem, and they warrant a trip to the doctor. There are also some steps that anyone can take to prevent muscle spasms.

If you are fortunate, the muscle spasm is actually a cramp, and you may be able to relieve it through gentle massage and stretching. Try not to force the muscle into a stretch. Instead, use long, flowing strokes with your fingers around the muscle to loosen it and then gently pull it into a stretch. This technique can also be used on tight muscles to encourage them to loosen up so that muscle spasms do not manifest later.

A number of other techniques can be used to relieve muscle spasms. Since spasms are often caused by a mineral imbalance, upping your intake of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium can help muscle spasms. Eating a banana, for example, is actually a highly effective treatment for some muscle spasms, since it provides a burst of potassium to your body. You can also try eating a calcium rich food like cheese to relieve muscle spasms.

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Compresses can help to relieve muscle spasms of longer duration, especially back spasms. A cold compress will help with pain and reduce inflammation caused by the tensing muscle. Warm compresses can increase circulation and loosen the muscle up, potentially allowing it to relax. Moist heat in particular is a good way to relieve muscle spasms; if you have access to a hot tub or a steam room, use it. Do not leave a compress on for more than 20 minutes, as you can hurt yourself with both hot and cold packs.

For extreme muscle spasms, doctors may prescribe muscle relaxers. People who have chronic medical conditions which result in muscle spasms may be kept on a regimen of muscle relaxants so that they are more comfortable. Chronic muscle spasms may also be eased with massage and bodywork.

In addition to relieving muscle spasms when you get them, you can also focus on preventing them. Eat a good diet which is high in minerals, especially if you exercise a lot, and make sure to stretch and exercise on a regular basis. You don't have to work out to be healthy; try integrating more walks, hiking, biking, or swimming into your daily life. In addition to relieving muscle spasms, the extra exercise may also help you feel better in general. Disciplines like yoga can also help to keep your muscles healthy and relaxed so that they will not spasm.

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Discuss this Article

anon346121
Post 7

Magnesium supplements help with muscle spasms.

anon288631
Post 6

I have arthritis of the c5-c6, c6-c7 cervical spine. I occasionally get an epidural shot in the cervical spine to help with the pain that the arthritis causes in my head, neck, back and left arm. I just got another shot last week and today awoke with excruciating spasms. I've tried massage and medication. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

anon271055
Post 5

I go to a clinic called Valleywide in La Junta, CO. They give me a hard time just to get my flexeril for my back spasms. This clinic stinks big time. They treat people badly and they are rude and well, I plan on finding another doctor.

anon147491
Post 4

When I do yoga daily (even at home for 1/2 hour) I never get spasms. As soon as I get out of the habit, I'll inevitably get a spasm in my back or neck. It's a reminder to get back to yoga or some sort of daily stretching.

Hope this is helpful.

anon116607
Post 3

Thanks for your experiences. now i know what to do when the pain hits me. -- Mr Confused

parmnparsley
Post 2

Regular stretching can help to prevent muscle spasms. Everyday life can be very sedentary, even during working hours. Poor posture and lack of movement can make any one stiff, and can also lead to painful muscle spasms and cramps. Stretching in the morning and evening helps me stay loose and limber. I notice I have far fewer muscle spasms and cramps since I have been stretching and staying active.

PelesTears
Post 1

I get muscle cramps and spasms in my legs and jaw when I am stressed out. I am not sure what causes it, but it could be related to my diet or always being tense. When they start happening multiple times in a week I take a homeopathic remedy made for leg cramps. The sugar tabs contain minerals like potassium and calcium, but they also contain relaxing herbs like valerian root.

These seem to work very well, and they help me sleep better. Even though they are for leg cramps, they help me stop grinding and clenching my teeth (my dentists said this has to do with stress). I would recommend looking into some of these homeopathic and herbal remedies before taking prescriptions, just make sure that you are speaking to someone licensed in homeopathy and herbal medicine. These individuals undergo six to eight years of training, and learn many of the same things as a doctor.

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