Last Updated on July 15, 2023 by Beth Skwarecki
If you’ve ever experienced a muscle spasm, you know it’s no laughing matter. Muscle spasms can strike without warning. They can turn a fun morning run into something not so pleasant when you experience sudden and uncomfortable cramps.
Spasms can interrupt everything, from your daily routine to when you sleep.
But guess what?
You don’t have to resign yourself to this discomfort. There are techniques to apply to dodge the disruption of muscle spasms. In this article, we explore why these spasms occur — and, more importantly, how to avoid them. From stretching routines to dietary changes, here are some tools to keep muscle spasms at bay.
Why Muscle Spasms Happen
Let’s delve into some common causes of muscle spasms and shed some light on the matter.
First on the list are dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. When your body’s not hydrated well, it doesn’t function as smoothly as it should. This can result in muscle spasms. Your body needs enough of these essential minerals, in particular: potassium, calcium, and magnesium. When they’re not balanced, this can lead to muscle contractions.
Believe it or not, poor circulation can be a factor. Sometimes your blood may not flow properly. When that happens, your muscles may not get the oxygen and nutrients they need, leading to spasms.
Excessive Physical Activity
Excessive physical activity and overuse of the muscles can trigger spasms. If you push your body too hard during workouts, you impose excessive stress on your muscles. When this happens, it causes them to twitch.
Next, let’s remember health conditions. Some diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and kidney disease are often associated with muscle spasms.
Last but not least, age is an important consideration. As we get older, the risk of muscle spasms increases. Aging can result in changes to the nerves and muscles, making us more prone to cramps.
In short, understanding these causes is your first step in preventing muscle spasms.
How to Avoid Muscle Spasms
Even if you experience annoying muscle spasms doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them. They don’t always 100% go away, but there are some techniques you can try to manage them.
Stretch More Often
Did you know that stretching plays a crucial role in preventing muscle spasms? That’s right! Regular, targeted stretching can help keep those pesky spasms at bay.
- Hamstring Stretch: One effective stretch often overlooked is the hamstring stretch. You can do this seated or standing.
- Calf Stretch: Another key stretch to consider is the calf stretch. You can perform this stretch against a wall or with the help of a resistance band.
- Quad Stretch: The quad stretch is another superstar for preventing muscle spasms. To do this stretch, first stand near a wall or chair for balance. Then, bend one knee and hold your foot towards your buttock. You should feel a gentle stretch down the front of your thigh.
- Hip Flexor Stretch: Finally, the hip flexor stretch is another effective stretch to prevent muscle cramps. Start in a lunge position with your right leg forward. Then, gradually lower your left knee to the ground and slightly forward. At the same time, keep your right knee over your ankle.
Remember, consistency is key. Include these stretches in your routine and keep muscle spasms at bay. Stretching around 10-15 minutes a day can be a game-changer for you.
You may have noticed that your muscles get sore during stressful times. That’s because there’s a strong connection between your emotional well-being and physical health. In particular, stress can be a significant trigger for muscle spasms.
Besides stress, you may need to implement more positive habits. Creating habits and setting certain goals can alleviate painful twitches. To prevent spasms, making the correct lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
Try incorporating these lifestyle changes:
- Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation effectively reduces stress levels. And thus, they promote relaxation and physical comfort.
- Exercise Regularly: Physical activity releases endorphins. Releasing endorphins is powerful — it’s your body’s natural painkillers and mood boosters. So, incorporate exercise to alleviate stress and muscle tension.
- Make Sleep a Priority: A lack of sleep can pump up stress hormones in your body, contributing to muscle spasms. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality shut-eye nightly.
- Eat a Balanced Diet: Eat a balanced diet. Certain nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin D and magnesium, can make your muscles twitch. Ensure you’re eating a diverse, nutritious diet to avoid this issue.
- Consult with a Health Professional: If ever you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional. They can guide you in developing effective stress management strategies.
There’s also the option of using medical marijuana, which can help alleviate stress. To see if medical marijuana is a good option, schedule an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor. They can offer suggestions as well as explain what type of cannabis to use, such as edibles. Veriheal also explains more about medical marijuana and edibles, in particular.
In the end, remember that everybody is different. What works perfectly for one person may not work as well for another. Keeping this in mind, listen carefully to your body. Pay attention to its signals, and adapt your muscle-spasm-dodging plan accordingly.
Start taking these steps today. You’ll notice a reduction in your muscle spasms – delivering the relief you seek.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.