Muscle spasm means a contraction (tightening) of one or more muscles which is persistent. It can cause the body to change position e.g. an inability to straighten up fully when standing.
It tends to happen in response to an injury and is your body’s attempt to support and immobilize injured tissues. It can also happen in response to stress or anxiety.
Spasm becomes problematic in itself when it goes on for too long and the contracted muscles become starved of blood supply becoming fatigued and painful. Rapid spasms can also happen in response to movements or change of position and can cause agonizing pain.
It is important to realize that severity of spasm and resulting pain is NOT an indication of how serious the initial injury is and it is imperative that you do not make it worse by tensing up or getting very stressed. Some people have a tendency to go into spasm even for relatively minor injuries such as strained muscles and may experience severe pain which is usually gone within a few days.
This may seem obvious but do try not to worry too much as panicking will make things worse. If you experience sharp pains breathe deeply and slowly and they will pass.
Try to keep up some level of activity even if it’s just gentle rhythmic exercises while lying down. If you can manage to walk around you may find this helpful in reducing the severity of the spasm. Change position frequently to avoid locking up but keep movements slow, rhythmic and deliberate.
3. TAKE PAINKILLERS REGULARLY.
Patients are often reluctant to take prescribed tablets but taken regularly at the prescribed dose they will probably help you get active sooner. If the muscle spasm is persistent the doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants such as Diazepam.
Ice packs placed on the site of the injury for 10minutes or so every few hours may help. If not, keep the area warm but don’t apply direct heat such as hot water bottles which may counteract your medication.
5. SEE THE OSTEOPATH.
As soon as you can comfortably travel come in but if you arrive in screaming agony and are unable to get on and off the table we are unlikely to be able to do much so stay at home and follow steps 1-4! Our treatment will be aimed at relaxing the muscles and restoring normal mobility.
© Justine Knowles 2018