A muscle spasm is a sudden, involuntary movement in one or more muscles. People may also call it a charley horse or a muscle cramp or twitch.
These movements can happen in any muscle of the body, however, it is more common in the leg muscles. Muscle spasms often occur as a result of stress, exercise, or dehydration.
Muscle spasms can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes. If you experience chronic muscle cramping, you may want to see a doctor.
Below are ways to reduce muscle spasms when they happen:
Massage can be a great way to relieve physical pain and muscle cramps. Gently rub the muscle that’s in spasm.
For a persisting back spasm, try pinching the area around it hard and holding the pinch for a few minutes. You may need someone else to do the pinching if you can’t reach the area, according to Healthline.
Ice or heat
Treating pain and spasms with hot or cold therapy can be extremely effective. For a persistent spasm, apply an ice pack on the muscle for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, a few times a day. Make sure to wrap the ice in a thin towel or cloth so that the ice isn’t directly on your skin.
A heating pad on the area may also be effective for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, but follow this with an ice pack. This is because while heat feels good for pain, it may worsen inflammation. Ice will calm down the inflammation. Other heat options include a warm bath, hot shower, or a hot tub or spa if you have access to one, which can all help relax your muscles.
When you have a spasm, try drinking some water. To help prevent spasms, make sure that you stay hydrated, especially if you’re exercising or if the weather is hot. While recommendations for how much water you should drink vary based on things like your individual needs, activities, lifestyle, and weather, here are some amounts to go by.
If you notice spasms are getting too frequent or they last for too long, you might consider speaking with your doctor.