Muscle spasms, or cramps, are sudden involuntary contractions in muscles or an organ, like the heart. Some are short-lived and mild, while others can be severe, painful, and chronically affect multiple parts of the body.
Skeletal muscles most commonly spasm, such as in the arms and legs, neck, back, and face, but smooth muscles inside the organs like the esophagus and intestines cause also spasm and be extremely painful. Smooth muscles are involuntarily controlled by the nervous system, while skeletal muscles are normally consciously controlled.
Spasms are associated causes and symptoms of various conditions, but most commonly it’s associated with multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease that eats away at the protective coating of nerves affecting the entire brain and body.
Various events and triggers can cause muscle spasms. A spasm happens when muscles are in low supply of oxygen and electrolytes that allow energy production. When electrolytes and other nutrients are low, the fluids of muscles become hyper-excitable, inducing forced contractions.
Athletes doing strenuous exercise in hot temperatures can have spasms due to overuse and dehydration. Construction and factory workers in hot climates are also prone to spasms. Peripheral artery disease too can cause cramps and spasms from decreases blood flow to the legs.
Chronic pain and obesity can cause muscle spasms, as well as illnesses like diabetes, anemia and kidney disease. Muscles around internal organs can involuntarily contract, such as in a coronary art spasm, when smooth muscles within coronary artery walls become spastic.
One of the most severe types of spasm is called dystonia, in which muscles contract forcefully, causing uncontrolled twisting and repetitive movements with an inability to keep a relaxed or normal posture. Dystonia is thought to be caused by abnormal functioning of neurotransmitter chemicals within the basal ganglia.
Depending on the patient and spasm, various methods are used to treat the condition. A heat cramp, or cramp from dehydration, can be addressed by stretching the muscle opposite of the contraction. For example, to treat an acute bicep contraction, one would try to extend their arm.
Pain from spasms might be treated with over-the-counter pain and inflammation relievers such as Tylenol and ibuprofen, but these drugs damage the kidneys and increase the risk of ulcers, heart disease, and stroke. Doctors may try to treat severe chronic spasms with all kinds of different pharmaceuticals.
In general, muscle relaxers are used to treat severe chronic muscle spasms. While they do work to mostly ameliorate spasms, many of them are highly toxic, addictive, and cause severe adverse effects. Drugs such as carisoprodol and chlorzoxazone can be addictive and cause liver toxicity. Some of them are associated with fatigue, low blood pressure, and depression.
The FDA doesn’t approve muscle relaxers for long-term use. Regardless, many patients use them chronically and mix them with other prescription opioids and anxiety medications. Muscle relaxers are dangerously sedative, impair cognitive and physical acuity severely, and some are associated with addiction, death, and injury.
Often the worst sufferers of severe muscle spasms are those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Exciting research out of Tel Aviv University into a chemical compound found in cannabis called, [CBD], should come as validation for the many MS patients who claim medical marijuana alleviates their condition.
Researchers studied lab mice with an MS-like disease and found that CBD was able to not only mediate neurologic pain and inflammation, but it also stopped the biological processes contributing to the progression of MS. For more information on medical marijuana and MS follow the conditional links in this article. (Multiple Sclerosis)
In fact, a vast amount of research has now been compiled on the study of [cannabinoids] and the control of spasticity. You can find multiple scientific reports linked throughout this paragraph. While research shows that cannabis will alleviate muscle spasms and are safer than muscle relaxers, marijuana will affect people differently.
Consult with a physician and medical marijuana professional about using cannabis. Find out about more research into medical marijuana in our other conditions articles and follow the links below to strains that have been reported to treat muscle spasms and pain.
· [[Misty Kush]]
· [[Black Cherry Soda]]
· [[Blue Bastard]]
· [[Cotton Purple Chem]]
· [[Flowerbomb Kush]]
· [[God’s Treat]]
· [[Master Jedi]]
· [[Negra 44]]
· [[Neptune OG]]
· [[One to One]]
· [[Punky Lion]]
· [[PVC OG]]
· [[Royal Dwarf]]
· [[Seattle Blue]]