Muscle spasms are involuntary contractions of the muscles. They may affect each and every muscle in human body and they vary in intensity and frequency. The contractions are most commonly painful and sudden. The pain is a characteristic of severe muscular spasms.
Causes of Muscle Spasms
Muscle spasm may be a symptom of different medical conditions and disorders. The most frequent cause of muscle spasms is an excessive overuse of specific muscle or a group of muscles.
Apart from prolonged strenuous activities muscle spasms may occur in different disorders of nervous system. This may be caused by certain toxins and different neurological diseases. Multiple sclerosis is one of the neurological disorders which is commonly accompanied by muscle spasms. They may even occur in Parkinson's disease. Furthermore, involuntary contractions of muscles may be present in case of injury of the spinal cord.
Dehydration is another possible cause of muscle spasms. Insufficient amount of water and salt in human body often result in muscle spasms of the legs. Dehydration can be a consequence of excessive training, insufficient intake of water, especially, during hot summer months, or it can occur in certain medical conditions which feature with abnormal loss of water.
Imbalance of certain electrolytes also leads to involuntary muscle contractions. The trigger for this may include insufficiency of particular electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Coronary artery spasm is a form of spasm caused by the constriction of heart blood vessels. The muscles inside the vessels constrict and this consequently leads to increased pain in the chest. This condition is very serious and if left untreated eventually results in heart attack.
One of the most common causes of muscle spasm in the back and legs is inadequate posture. Everyone has experienced muscle spasms after sleeping in an improper posture. People who suffer with some of these types of muscle spasms include those who spend too much time in front of computer, workers on the production lines in factories and all those whose body is subjected to improper posture for longer period of time.
Muscle spasms may also affect people who are suffering from certain systemic diseases including diabetes mellitus or anemia.
Pregnant women tend to experience muscle spasms. The actual cause of involuntary muscle contractions during pregnancy has not been established yet. However, it is believed that the pressure due to overweight can be a cause of cramps in legs.
And finally, people who are suffering from atherosclerosis tend to experience muscle spasms once in a while. The explanation lies in insufficient supply of the muscles with oxygen and nutritive substances.