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 the spasms.
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 spasms, so 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.