Which came first, the muscle spasm or the pain?
Every muscle in your body is attached to a bone, but just like the chicken and the egg, a muscle spasm can cause pain and pain can cause a muscle spasm!
Often, when we experience pain a muscle spasm pulls nearby joints out of place, causing a condition known as joint sublaxation. Similarly, if a joint is sublaxated, nearby muscles may spasm in response.
Does it matter which happened first?
Usually, by the time pain has caused you to look for help from the doctor or therapist the cycle of pain and spasm has already begun. Pain causes spasm which pulls joints out of alignment, which more spasm and more pain!
Ultimately, the body accommodates to this cycle and the muscles stay tightened in the contracted state. After two days of spasm, the muscles will adapt to their new unnatural painful state and resist relaxation. The pain may even subside a bit during this adaptation, but now the body is adjusting to the muscles and the joints that are now in improper positions. Individuals can live for years unaware of the problem (as I did!). Many people only seek help when the pain becomes intolerable.
The longer that a muscle is in spasm, the longer it takes to treat the area that is sublaxated. The muscle tissue actually resists the normal relaxed position of the bones. Therefore the longer the condition has been tolerated the more treatments are likely to be required, but not necessarily with all people. Once the pain and spasm cycle has been broken, your muscles can return to their natural pain free state.
Muscle Spasm & Other Conditions
Muscle spasm in specific muscles can have other effects on the body. For example, if the muscles of the neck go into spasm, it can lead to muscle tension headaches. Spasm in the scalene muscles (in the front of the neck) can put pressure on nearby nerves and blood vessels, resulting in numbness, pain or tingling in the arms or hands. Spasms of the small piriformis muscle in the buttocks can cause sciatica pain. If the diaphragm muscle spasms, hiccups may result.
When muscles in the bask spasm, spinal bones can be pulled out of alignment and the result can be interference with nerve function. Imbalances in the muscle groups can also lead to poor posture, which can cause further complications.
There are many conditions that result from these muscle spasms throughout the body. Also, once these conditions become normal for the body, other pressures will be place on internal organs giving rise to a mountain of further imbalances in the body.
General Mobility Exercises
We will continue this thread on Muscle Spasms and Pain and offer the best form of pain relief from experience with our members. If you have a particular treatment that you favour for muscle spasms, please write in and let us know!