Muscle cramps usually go away on their own and are rarely severe enough to require medical attention. They are associated with leg swelling, redness, or skin changes. Muscle spasms can occur as a result of many different things, from tiredness to stress and certain medical conditions. In many cases, occasional muscle spasms aren't a cause for concern, but keep reading to learn more about when muscle spasms might warrant a review with your doctor.
From why they happen to whether pickle juice can actually stop them, here's everything you need to know about muscle cramps. But if you have frequent muscle cramps, and especially if you have other symptoms of muscle weakness or loss, it's time to see your doctor. The easiest way to prevent muscle cramps is to avoid or limit exercises that tighten muscles and cause cramps. This is different from muscle contractions, a very mild, repetitive contraction of a muscle that can be seen or felt or not.
By doing so, the motor nerves of the peripheral nervous system are activated to trigger muscle contractions necessary for normal muscle movement. Muscle spasms can even occur internally, such as in the case of an overactive bladder, which can involve the bladder muscles spasm spontaneously and cause leaks. You can apply a cold or warm compress to sore muscles at the first sign of a spasm to ease the pain of muscle cramps. Stress and exhaustion are two of the main culprits of muscle spasms, either because you don't get enough sleep or because your muscles are actually fatigued from exertion.
Occasional muscle spasms are normal, but here's how to tell if muscle spasms could be something else. Muscle spasms can range from small muscles, such as when the eyelid keeps contracting, to larger muscles, such as the Charley horse in the leg when you flex it incorrectly. Too much caffeine can cause muscle “contractions”, such as a contraction of the eyelids, or even contractions in the muscles of the hand. In many cases, the muscle contracts to such an extent that the entire limb or body moves physically, especially if they are larger thigh or calf muscles.
These cramps, also called muscle spasms or charley horses, can occur in one or more muscles at a time. As the North American Spine Society explains, a muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscle group anywhere in the body.