Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder which triggers different symptoms all over the body. Muscle spasm is one of the painful symptom associated with fibromyalgia.
What is Muscle Spasm?
Muscle spasms happen if you feel a sudden painful contraction of muscles in your body. This can last for a few seconds to minutes. Prolonged muscle spasms are called muscle cramp. This is an uncontrollable contraction of the muscle that is often painful and will take place in a certain areas of your muscle. Muscle twitches can happen in the thumbs, eyelid, and legs. Usually, this is a result of extreme stress and anxiety.
What Causes Muscle Spasm in Fibromyalgia?
There are certain reasons why your muscles undergo contraction. At times, it may even happen without any apparent reason even if it does happen frequently. For most people, muscles contract because of extreme physical activities. However, fibromyalgia muscle spasm is possibly a result of myofascial trigger points (TrPs) or muscle knots.
TrPs, like its second name, are almost literally knots in the muscles. They develop when muscle tissues heal abnormally, usually after a muscle injury like a strain, forming a hard nodule. TrPs are the main symptom that characterize myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). It is so common for MPS and fibromyalgia to coexist in a patient that some doctors believe that both conditions are the same illness.
TrPs can hurt when you apply pressure on it. Interestingly, it causes referred pain in another part of your body which is seemingly unrelated to the origin’s point. For instance, a muscle knot on the neck can lead to pain at the top of the head and under the eyes. In fact, a study found that by influencing TrPs, researchers were able to recreate fibromyalgia pain in other parts of the body. The study concluded that TrP is the reason behind muscle spasm and suggested that it could also be the reason behind fibromyalgia for some people.
Nevertheless, there are also other factors that can cause muscle spasm such as over-reactive nerves and nutrient deficiencies.
Treatment and Prevention of Fibromyalgia Muscle Spasm
There is no known treatment for muscle spasms in fibromyalgia. Experts recommend these methods to ease the tension:
- Hydrotherapy – heat and ice compresses can help to ease muscle tension
- Topical pain medications – Aspercreme, Tiger Balm, or BioFreeze can be applied to affected area for pain relief
- Stretching – this practice is a great way to relax your muscles and improve blood circulation. Proper blood circulation alone can help to relieve pain. It also help to minimize the risk of developing a higher level of pain in the future.
- Massage treatment – this will not only minimize muscle tension, but will also increase blood flow. Above all, massage can greatly help to reduce stress.
- Epsom salt bath – this is an effective way to boost your magnesium which can help relieve muscle pain and tenderness in fibromyalgia. Taking a bath also helps you relax your muscles and ease tension.
- Light exercises – keeping your muscles moving increases blood circulation which can help prevent muscle spasm.