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Muscle Spasms in Legs

Muscle Spasms in Legs
Most of the time, overuse of leg muscles causes spasm in them. But if the problem occurs otherwise, then it may indicate a medical condition. Scroll down to know how you can prevent muscle spasms, and what could cause the same.
Kalpana Kumari
Last Updated: Jan 25, 2018
While muscle spasms commonly affect the foot and calf muscles, muscle areas such as the front and back of the thigh, arms, hands, abdomen and muscles along the rib cage may also get affected. Muscle spasms may last for a couple of seconds or for as long as ten minutes. The involuntary contraction of the muscle group is also accompanied by pain which varies in intensity from mild to severe.
Prevent Muscle Spasms With the Following Measures
If you suspect the intake of a particular medication to be the possible cause of muscle spasms in the legs, consult your doctor immediately.
Stretch your legs and feet every time you take off your shoes. This will prevent leg muscle spasms in future.
Keep your legs elevated while resting. You can put pillows under your feet. This will help in preventing muscle spasms in legs at night.
Massage your legs regularly with warm mustard oil, coconut oil or olive oil in the direction of muscle growth.
Soak your feet or legs in warm water for about 10-15 minutes daily. You can also add Epsom salt to warm water.
Drinking chamomile tea will also prove beneficial. Chamomile contains glycine, which is an amino acid that is known to relieves muscle cramps and muscle pain.
Cut down on your intake of alcohol, tea and coffee. These have a dehydrating effect on the body.
Exercising moderately will increase blood circulation in your body. Do take breaks and keep your body hydrated.
What are the Causes of Muscle Spasms in Legs?
• Leg muscle spasms may occur in event of contraction of a muscle that is already in contracted position. For example, the calf muscle is prone to muscle spasms if one is sleeping in a position in which the knees are slightly bent, with one's feet pointing downwards.
• Another cause of involuntary muscle spasms and twitches in legs is overexertion of leg muscles. Performing an intense workout without performing warm-up exercises may cause over-stretching of the leg muscles which in turn may cause muscle fatigue. This may make one susceptible to muscle spasms in leg.
• It is believed that dehydration and loss of electrolytes may also put one at an increased risk of developing muscle spasms. Excessive sweating that may occur when one exercises in very hot weather, can lead to the depletion of electrolytes. High or low concentration of sodium or potassium would cause alteration in the concentration of salt balance in the blood thereby causing muscle cramps in legs.
• Sometimes neurological disorders may be the reason behind the occurrence of chronic muscle spasms in legs. Multiple sclerosis is one such disorder wherein the myelin sheath that covers or protects the nerves becomes inflamed. This leads to nerve damage. Muscle spasms are often associated with this neurological disorder. A spinal cord injury could also lead to muscle spasms.
• Medical conditions that lead to an abnormal distribution of body fluids are most likely to cause muscle spasms. Liver cirrhosis and kidney failure are medical conditions that are characterized by such body fluid shifts and may therefore lead to muscle spasms. Those who have been diagnosed with renal failure and need to frequently undergo dialysis often suffer from muscle cramps in legs.
• Poor circulation in legs could also make one susceptible to muscle spasms. Pregnant women may suffer from spasms in legs due to the circulatory changes that take place during the course of pregnancy. Since the body goes through many changes, pregnant women are asked to take nutritional supplements to maintain normal levels of calcium and magnesium in the blood. Pregnant women suffering from a deficiency of calcium and magnesium are most likely to suffer from leg muscle cramps.
• Prolonged use of certain diuretics, antipsychotic drugs, asthma medication and statin medication may also cause involuntary muscle contractions in the leg muscles.
If you don't find any relief after trying the aforementioned natural treatments for muscle spasms, it would be best to consult a medical practitioner for proper evaluation of the cause and medical treatment. Doctors may prescribe drugs for treating the underlying cause and may also recommend the use of nutritional supplements. Generally, muscle relaxers are prescribed for those who suffer from chronic or severe muscle spasms in legs.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
Athlete with muscle pain
Injured male athlete screaming in pain at sunset