Everyone suffers from muscle spasms from time to time. It doesn’t matter if you are fit or flabby, muscle spasms are hard to avoid because it (muscle spasm) is a natural reaction of muscle tissue to trauma/injury or overuse. But knowing how to treat a muscle spasm can make a big difference in how severe and how long the spasm persists.

To effectively treat a muscle spasm, you need to know what caused the spasm—for example: working out too much, falling, repetitive lifting, sitting for long periods of time—and stop/reduce that activity. Otherwise, you are likely to keep aggravating the muscle.

Next, try to get the muscle to relax. There are several methods for reducing muscle spasms—among the most effective are: gentle passive prolonged stretching, ice, rest, massage, and gentle exercise. I use a combination of all of them, but usually start with ice (because cold temperature forces the muscle to relax), followed by stretching , which if done properly, also forces the muscle to relax.

Massage is a good choice for persistent or severe spasms, since it is often more effective than either ice or stretching in getting a muscle to release/relax. Massage, along with ice, is also very effective for reducing the muscle soreness associated with spasms.

Gentle exercise,  will help the muscle “reset” (contract in a synchronous manner). Certain exercises, especially the high repetition and low load type, help encourage a muscle to resume it’s normal firing pattern (instead of the asynchronous, rapid pattern of spasms).

Once the spasm has resolved, further stretching (to increase flexibility) and strengthening are recommended to reduce the risk of the spasm returning.

COAST Physical Therapy Services offers an extensive range of massage therapy from experienced and certified massage therapists.