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Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasms are involuntary contractions of a muscle or muscle groups. In some occasions it is accompanied by a sudden burst of pain but it usually ceases after a few minutes. Muscle spasm can also occur in hollow organs of the body such as stomach, esophagus and bladder, since these organs are also made up of a particular type of muscles called the smooth muscles. Hollow organs pertain to the organs inside the body not composed of a solid mass; these anatomical parts of our body contain spaces within them that are usually filled with air or relatively small amounts of liquid or secretions. Spasms that occur in these hollow organs in our body may cause a significant pain or discomfort lasting for some time and gradually ceases thereafter.

Muscle spasms usually happen when the nerves controlling our muscles become excitable. This is termed as hyperexcitability. A person’s mood, current stress level and hydration status (amount of water in a person’s body) could be factors for this phenomenon. If there is a sudden burst of energy, sudden changes in mood, increasing stress levels and changes in the hydration status, these causes changes in the activities of the nerves regulating the movement of the muscles. The nerves could suddenly fire fast and strong signals to the muscles causing the muscles to move in an uncontrolled and fast rate.

Muscle spasms may cause discomfort and may be considered abnormal but generally not harmful. These occurrences usually last for a few minutes and gradually cease after. However, muscle spasms could also be a sign or a symptom of a medical condition that needs significant attention. If the muscle spasm is prolonged, occurs frequently and repetitively and negatively affects the person’s movement and functioning, then the spasm could be considered pathological. This means that the spasm is indicative of a medical condition that needs treatment.

Muscle spasms indicative of a pathology or disease condition could reflect a number of conditions. Generally muscle spasm that needs medical attention has the following signs and symptoms: continuous, strong painful muscle spasms, abnormalities in posture, cramping and inability to control movements. Such signs and symptoms could indicate that the person is suffering from a muscular condition. Most of these pathologies are rooted from problems in the nervous system. As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, the nervous system, particularly the nerves, regulates the control of muscle functions. Problems emanating from this system could have a significant effect on the functions of the muscles.

Treatments for spasms depend on their severity. Simple spasms usually experienced by most people don’t require treatment, but if one wants to be relieved of it, drinking fluids with appropriate amounts of electrolyte could relieve the involuntary movements. Easing the possible causes such as stress and opting for relaxation could also relieve a person from such spasms. For those considered to be pathologic, a combination of physical and medical treatment is opted. Pharmaceutical drugs called antispasmodics/anti-spasms are usually given by physicians to relieve the patient from spasms. Drugs whose action are aimed to relax the muscles are also given so the patient would be relived of the pain and discomfort caused by the involuntary contractions. In severe cases, a patient might undergo surgery as a treatment; this mode of treatment removes or destroys the nerves of the muscles that cause the problems.

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