Get answers to your Shoulder and Elbow questions.
At the first sign of a muscle spasm, stop your activity and try stretching and massaging the affected muscle. Heat will relax the muscle at first, although ice may be helpful after the first spasm and when the pain has improved. If the muscle is still sore, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help with pain. In more severe cases, your health care provider can prescribe antispasm medications.
After you get treated, your health care provider should look for the cause of the spasm so that it doesn't recur. If an irritated nerve is involved, you might need physical therapy or even surgery.
The most common cause of muscle cramps during sports activity is dehydration. Often, drinking water or sports drinks will ease the cramping. However, drinking water alone at times is not sufficient. Salt tablets or sports drinks that can replenish loss minerals can be helpful.
Muscle spasms will get better with rest and time. The outlook is excellent for most people. Proper training techniques should prevent spasms from occurring regularly. If an irritated nerve caused the spasm, you might need more treatment and results can vary.
If you have a muscle spasm with severe pain, contact your health care provider. . If you have weakness with your muscle spasm, contact your health care provider.
Even if your spasms are not severe, your health care provider can help you change your exercise program to reduce the risk of spasms in the future.
Brinker MR, O’Connor DP, Almekinders LC, et al. Physiology of Injury to Musculoskeletal Structures: 1. Muscle and Tendon Injury. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 1, section A.
Geiderman JM, Katz D. General principles of orthopedic injuries. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 46.
Ronthal M. Arm and neck pain. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:chap 32.
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