Your muscles perform vital functions for your body. They work with your nerves, bones, and joints to provide movement, flexibility, and mobility. They go through a complex stretching and contracting process for every movement you make.
Not all muscle movements are voluntary. Your heart is a compact muscular organ that works automatically, even when you are asleep. Other involuntary muscles aid in digestion and other essential bodily functions.
Like rubber bands, your muscles are elastic and can expand and contract as directed by your brain. However, some conditions can cause involuntary muscle spasms, or tremors, which are a nuisance. If you have them chronically, they can affect your activities of daily living.
Ten possible causes of muscle spasms and how to reduce them at home
A muscle contraction can occur anywhere in the body, although it is common in the face and outer extremities. Have you noticed a problem with your muscles? Here are ten common causes of a muscle contraction and how you can manage them.
It is impossible to live without some kind of stress. Although stress is often uncomfortable, you need something to grow and learn throughout life. However, too much stress can cause you physical and mental problems, as well as make your muscles twitch.
When you’re stressed, your brain goes into survival mode with the options to run, fight, freeze, or faint. Pumped adrenaline and cortisone into your bloodstream for a life-saving burst of energy. Chronic overdoses of these hormones can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and mental illness.
Give your body and nervous muscles a break and try to reduce stress in your life. Learn to choose your battles and realize that many things in the world are out of your control. However, you can control how you react to them.
Try things like meditation, visualization, or a mindful exercise like yoga. Many people find relief from stress by keeping their thoughts in a journal. Less stress means less tension and less muscle fatigue.
2. Certain medications
Your best option is to take the medications prescribed by your healthcare providers for some medical or mental conditions. Unfortunately, some of the medications you must take have unwanted side effects, such as muscle spasms. You may notice them during the day or they may bother you at night.
Your medical providers chose drugs that should have more benefits than side effects. Many side effects are mild and will go away as your body gets used to the medicine. If not, it is time to speak to a professional.
Do any of your medications or herbal supplements give you unpleasant side effects like muscle weakness and tremors? Some medications can be changed to others that are better for you. Remember never to alter or stop any medication without medical advice.
3. Sleep deprivation
Between juggling a family, a career, and other social obligations, it’s no wonder so many people in our country don’t get enough sleep. Statistics say that at least 50-70 percent of Americans have some kind of sleep disorder. Are you one of those people who is left in a fog of exhaustion?
Not only can sleep deprivation cause muscle fatigue and tremors, but it can affect your physical and mental health. If you have problems with your muscles, it may be the reason you are not sleeping well. Bad sleep patterns need to be addressed.
Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Turn off the technology and turn your bedroom into a dark and quiet oasis conducive to sleeping. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, see your GP.
Did you know that at least 60 percent of your body is made up of water.? You can go a while without eating, but you will die quickly without water. Your body must have water to nourish cells and for all systems to function properly.
A primary function of drinking water is to keep muscles, joints, and connective tissues flexible and lubricated. If you notice tremors in your muscles, you could be dehydrated. You may be among the many people in America who are thirsty and don’t even realize it.
The simple solution to dehydration is to drink enough plain water every day. Although beverages like coffee, tea, and soda are water-based, your body still needs plain water to function properly. Recent medical research recommends that you drink at least 4-7 cups of water a day if you are a woman and 6-11 cups if you are a man.
5. Drink too much caffeine or alcohol
What is the first thing you look for in the morning? If you say coffee, you are not alone. Many people crave that quick dose of caffeine to jumpstart their brains throughout the day. Maybe you sip a cup of coffee at work and make another when you get home.
Do you consume alcohol? Perhaps you are a social drinker and drink modestly, or drink a little more than you should. What you drink is not as important as how much you drink.
Most people tend to forget that both caffeine and alcohol are drugs. Overconsumption can have negative effects on your health and can cause things like weakness and muscle spasms. Also, these drugs are habit-forming and can be a double problem when taken simultaneously.
Remember that the best drink to quench your thirst is plain water. If you need a little energy from caffeine, limit yourself to 2 cups of coffee a day or a caffeinated soda. CDC guidelines recommend a limit of one alcoholic drink for women and two for men per day.
6. Intense workouts
Your body needs proper exercise to stay fit and in optimal health. If you do vigorous exercise like running, lifting weights, or doing cardiovascular exercise, you lose a lot of water and essential electrolytes when you sweat.
After a tough training session, you may feel a little weak and notice tremors in your muscles. Sometimes muscle problems can last and even bother you at night. It does not mean that you should abandon your exercise regimen.
It’s normal to feel a little sore after an intense workout. However, if you notice that your muscles are continuously contracting and making you feel uncomfortable, perhaps your training is too intense. Seek the advice of a certified fitness instructor or your healthcare provider.
As if you need another reason to quit, add this to your list of warnings. Did you know that smoking can deplete your body of oxygen and cause your muscles to weaken and shiver?
There are no safe alternatives to smoking, and cutting back won’t help. Your best solution is to talk to your healthcare provider about a smoking cessation program that is right for you. your the body begins to heal within hours of quitting smoking.
8. Bad eating habits
If you don’t eat a balanced diet with enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber, your entire body will pay for it. If you are overweight or obese, you are at risk for serious illnesses such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and premature death.
Just because you’re thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Likewise, a person can be obese and still be undernourished. These conditions can wear down your muscles and cause irritating spasms.
Eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. A proper diet can help tone and shape your body. Consult with a registered dietitian or your GP for a meal plan that is tailored to your needs.
9. Pinched nerves
Brain and nerve connections control voluntary and involuntary muscle movements. Your primary nerves branch from your spinal cord. If any nerves are pinched due to spinal injuries or disorders, it can cause uncontrollable contraction in the muscles.
Sometimes a misaligned spine can cause pinched nerves, pain, and muscle problems. Many people find relief from being treated by a certified chiropractor. If you have nerve damage or spinal problems, you should see a bone or neurology specialist.
10. Underlying medical conditions
For the most part, muscle contractions are benign and can be successfully treated by changing lifestyle habits. However, they can also be signs of serious diseases that attack the nerves, joints, or muscles. Some of these include multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as ALS.
While some of these diseases can be inherited, many of them are not. Tremors in the face and eyes can be warning signs of a stroke or Bell’s palsy. To be safe, see your GP.
It is normal to experience an occasional contraction in your muscles. When you feel uncomfortable or interrupt your life, it is time to find a solution. If lifestyle changes don’t help, see your GP to look for underlying causes.