We all know how to flex our muscles – even kids will happily flex their biceps.
Our muscles flex during a muscle spasm, too, but we don’t have control over the movement.
This can be scary.
When muscles become ridged, they contract (involuntarily) causing a muscle spasm. The fibers inside the muscles contract and tighten. This stops the blood from flowing often causing sharp and immediate pain.
Muscle spasms and muscle cramps usually affect the neck, back, legs and abs and can last for a few minutes up to weeks.
But what causes the muscle to spasm?
1. Heavy Lifting
Bending and twisting while lifting a heavy object can cause the muscles or ligaments in the low back to become strained or to tear. When muscles become inflamed it often leads to back spasm.
Your muscles are attached to bones. When your bones move out of alignment they stretch and strain the muscles. This causes not only muscle spasm but back pain, neck pain and even sciatica when the misalignment pinches on a nerve.
2. Quick Movement
If you reached over your seat in the car at a stoplight to pick up a book your child has dropped on the floor of the back seat and feel a sharp muscle spasm in your abs or neck, that quick movement and overstitching has caused a muscle spasm.
3. Prolonged Sitting
So many of us sit at a computer or look down at our phone for long periods of time, and with more and more people working remotely, there’s not even an opportunity to get out of your chair for some good ol’ water cooler talk.
Later in the evening, or even at night, your back and neck muscles may begin to spasm. When we work long hours or feel pressured to finish something with few breaks, we unconsciously tense up our neck and shoulders.
A slouched posture weakens your neck and back muscles while causing muscle spasm and inflammation in your shoulder blades. As we age, we lose muscle mass and strength (unless we stay active and exercise) and a slouched posture only makes things worse.
5. Strenuous Activity
When muscles are overused or injured, they can go into spasm. Athletes who increase their physical activity too quickly can put stress on the muscle. Muscle spasm and sports injuries go hand-in-hand.
Muscle spasms are often associated with dehydration, so it’s essential that you keep your body hydrated, especially during hot weather or physical activity. If you know that you’ll be working hard in the heat, drink plenty of water before the activity begins.
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