Muscle spasms can occur for a number of reasons. The most common cause of muscle spasms is muscle fatigue, or overuse of a particular muscle, according to MedlinePlus. Sometimes a muscle spasm can feel like the muscle is hard, bulging, twitching or tight. You can try to stretch your arm to relieve a muscle spasm; although, it may be painful at first. If the cramping sensation becomes persistent, seek medical help right away, as it could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as multiple sclerosis. Muscle spasms can occur in any part of your body, including your arms, if your arm muscles are overused or injured. As your arm muscles become fatigued, you may experience a tight cramping sensation, or a muscle spasm. The very first time you experience a muscle spasm in your arm, stop using your arm immediately and try to stretch it out. To help relieve the pain, you can apply a heating pad or warm cloth to your arm where the muscle spasm occurred. After the muscle spasm has passed, you can apply ice packs once your pain has improved, according to MedlinePlus. Tetanus, a bacterial infection, is often referred to as lockjaw, according to KidsHealth. org. The reason tetanus is referred to lockjaw is because when you first experience symptoms, you have muscle spasms in your jaw, which prevent you from opening it. As the condition worsens, you can experience muscle spasms in your upper arms, abdomen and thighs.
Most children receive a total of four tetanus vaccinations by age 2 and then a booster shot at around 4 years of age. Another booster shot is usually administered at about age 11 and then every 10 years after that. Certain wounds, such as animal bites or soil contamination, can enter your skin and spread the Clostridium tetani bacteria. Itвs very important to stay up-to-date on your immunizations to prevent tetanus. If you believe youвve been infected with C. tetani bacteria, ask your doctor for a tetanus shot to help prevent the bacteria from spreading. Multiple sclerosis, or MS, attacks the brain and spinal cord and causes nerve damage. MS can affect any part of your body, but when you experience an attack, you may feel weakness, tremors and muscle spasms in one or both arms or legs. Each attack can vary in location and severity, as the disease is progressive and unpredictable. You may also experience a tingling, burning or crawling sensation in your arms and legs during an attack. As of 2010, there are no cures for MS, but certain medications such as methotrexate can help slow the progression and attacks of the autoimmune disease.
Muscle twitches and spasms are both uncontrollable muscle movements, but their symptoms, treatment and causes are very different.
While a twitch is a minor annoyance you may hardly notice, a spasm occurs quickly, without warning and is typically quite painful. In most cases, neither condition requires medical attention. A muscle twitch, also called a fasciculation, is uncontrollable movement in a small area of a larger muscle. A twitch can also occur in a specific muscle group that is stimulated by a single nerve. Muscle spasms are also uncontrollable, but involve a muscle that contracts and does not relax. Muscle twitches may be so minor they rsquo;re not noticed, or you may feel a nagging twitch or see the rapid but slight movement under the skin. Twitches are not painful. They may come and go, but do not last for more than a few days. Spasms may be visible as a bulge underneath the skin, they often feel tight and are usually very painful. Spasms typically last from a few seconds to a few minutes. A muscle twitch may be caused by stress or anxiety, stimulants such as caffeine or they may be a side effect of over-the-counter cold treatments, antipsychotic drugs and medications used to treat asthma or ADHD. Muscle twitching may also be caused by nerve damage, weak muscles and rare but serious conditions such as Lou Gehrig rsquo;s disease and muscular dystrophy. Muscle spasms most often occur as a result of overuse, overstretched or tired muscles.
The most common cause of spasms is dehydration, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Other causes include low levels of sodium, potassium or calcium, nerve irritation and systemic illnesses such as diabetes, anemia and kidney disease. Muscle twitching usually stops and does not require treatment. If you rsquo;re at risk of being dehydrated due to heat or physical activity, the first step for treating muscle spasms is to consume water or a sports drink. Otherwise, you may treat spasms by gently stretching and massaging the muscle. You may apply heat to the affected muscle to help it relax, but after the spasm stops, use ice to relieve pain. If you have muscle spasms that are especially painful or the soreness doesn #039;t go away, your doctor may prescribe medications to help relieve the tight muscle and the pain. You won rsquo;t be able to prevent a muscle twitch unless it is caused by medication or a physical condition that is treated. However, muscle spasms can often be prevented by regular stretching before exercise, avoiding repetitive muscle movements and staying hydrated with water or sports drinks. You should consult your doctor if you have twitches or spasms that frequently occur or last longer than normal so that potential medical conditions can be ruled out.