at Reform Physiotherapy and Pilates Malahide

Muscle spasms-what to do when they happen?!

Monday, January 15th, 2018

If anyone has ever had a muscle go into spasm, they will know how painful it can be! Although muscles spasms can be common, many people do not know why they have the spasm or what to do when it happens.




Muscles can go into spasms and cramp for several different reasons- fatigue, dehydration, over loading the muscle, stress or even fear of a movement/activity can cause your muscle to spasm painfully. You can get a spasm anywhere in your body-in your back, neck, legs, arms or feet! I have seen many patients over the years that find it hard to believe that their pain is due to a muscle spasm and feel they must have ‘damaged something’ or ‘broken something’ due to the severity of the pain. It is important to understand, that muscular pain can be very severe, take your breath away on occasion and even refer pain into other areas of your body!


So how do you treat a muscle spasm? Follow these steps:


  • DO NOT PANIC! Panicking and stressing about the source of pain will cause you to subconsciously tense up more which will increase the muscle spasm.
  • Breath and focus on relaxing the muscle. Doing slow deep breathing can help stop the muscle tensing. Consciously try to relax the muscle whilst doing your deep breathing.
  • Use heat- a hot water bottle or a heat pack or even a hot shower can have an immediate effect of reducing the muscle spasm. Use for 10mins at a time. You can also get heat patches to wear during the day if you find them beneficial.
  • Keep moving! It is important not to take to one position and stay there. Moving as normally as possible will help your muscle normalise and stop it cramping. Resting for a prolonged period may feel good at the time but will be lead to a slower recovery.
  • Seek advise from your Physiotherapist if your pain is not reducing after doing all the above for a few days.


If you would like more information or want to book an appointment, call 0863582911 :)



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