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How are muscle spasms treated?

A:

Quick Answer

The primary treatment for an acute muscle spasm is gently stretching the affected muscle, and further treatment varies depending on the underlying cause but may include a variety of medications, according to MedicineNet.com. Preventative measures, such as staying hydrated, are also important for avoiding future episodes.

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Full Answer

When a skeletal muscle begins to spasm, the individual should stretch it to length to break the spasm cycle, states MedicineNet.com. For muscles that have been strained or damaged by the spasm, individuals may take anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics or muscle relaxants for short-term pain relief. Quinin has long been prescribed for nocturnal leg spasms, and other options include gabapentin, dilitiazem and B-complex vitamins. For dystonias, options include levodopa, diazepam, carbamazepine, baclofen, reserpine, botulinum toxin type A and certain anti-Parkinsonism drugs. Individuals may need to experiment with medications and dosages to find what works for them.

Muscle spasms are often associated with electrolyte imbalances and dehydration, so individuals should stay hydrated, especially when working or exercising in a warm environment, advises MedicineNet.com. If an illness is causing spasms due to diarrhea, fever or vomiting, individuals should focus on controlling symptoms to avoid dehydration. Individuals can also prevent spasms by warming up and stretching before completing tasks associated with heavy labor, such as raking or mowing the lawn.

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