Muscle spasms and cramps can be brought about by a muscle that had contracted involuntarily. It can be momentarily paralyzing and quite painful. There are several factors that can cause muscle spasms, from general fatigue or nutritional deficiency to a serious disorder involving the nervous system.
- Abnormal muscle contraction can be triggered by the abnormal activity during the chemical process of releasing and absorbing calcium ions within the muscles to interaction with the muscle proteins actin and myosin to cause the muscles to slide and contract. Recapture of the calcium ions and the unlinking of the proteins cause the muscle to relax. Any disruption within these processes can cause muscle spasm.
- Long exercise sessions that lead to fatigue can cause the muscle spasms when you ignore the warning signs. Prolonged exercise can deplete your energy level and you need the energy for the muscle to contract and relax normally. The old warning not to go swimming right after a heavy meal is related to this issue as the blood flow is directed to digesting the food and away from the muscles. Cramps can be avoided when you take the time to rest after strenuous exercise and heavy meals before resuming normal activities.
- The right amount of salt in the body is needed to maintain the balance of fluids. Too much sweat during heavy exercise, vomiting and diarrhea can make the body lose a lot of salts and fluids that can disrupt the ion balance in your nerves and muscles. It will take time for you to replenish them and your body will take some time to respond and recover manually, and these situations can cause your muscles to contract.
- Metabolic disorders and particular muscle enzymes deficiencies can lead to muscle spasms. McArdle’s disease and deficiency in phosphorylase b kinase, lactate dyhydrogenase, phosphoglycerate kinase and phosphofructokinase are inherited diseases that can cause muscle spasms.
- Muscle spasms can also be called by a disorder called myotonia wherein the muscles become stiff due to the delayed relaxation of the muscles. This is more evident when people with this condition exercise and are exposed to the cold.
- There are times when you suffer from involuntary muscle twitching. It is an irritating condition that is brought about by fatigue, exposure to the cold, reaction to some medications. It can also be due to some nerve damage, neurodegenerative disease and some metabolic disorders. These twitching and tingling sensations are called fasciculations.
- People who tend to sleep soundly and in one position only can also suffer from muscle cramps, more aptly known as rest cramps. Sometimes it can be caused by positions and movements that can cause a muscle to shorten such as pointing the foot down which inevitably shortens the calf muscle thus causing cramps to the lower leg.
- Low calcium and magnesium levels in the blood can cause muscle spasms of the hands and the wrists as well as cause a tingling sensation around the mouth and other areas of your body.
Rest, massage, mild exercise such as walking and flexing your muscles will help strengthen them and prevent the frequent occurrence of muscle spasms and cramps. Drinking lots of liquid and eating a balanced and healthy meal will contribute to the general healthy condition of your body and muscles.