Muscle spasms are a temporary contraction of the muscles of the body. It occurs due to sudden involuntary contraction of muscles that do not relax on its own.1 When these contractions remain for a long time, a number of muscle or muscle fibers undergo involuntary contractions leading to muscular cramps. Their symptoms are the pain, visible hardening, and twitching of the involved muscles or muscle fibers. The causes of muscle spasms are mineral or vitamin deficiency, overexertion, stress, strain, cold temperatures, dehydration, and certain diseases like muscular dystrophy, Wilson’s disease, poliomyelitis and others discussed in the article.
What Disease Causes Muscle Spasms?
Muscle spasms are a common condition characterized by contraction of one or more muscles of the body. It can occur in any person at any age. It is usually short durational and is not serious. It usually caused by overstrain, stress, dehydration, and anxiety. It is of two types, involuntary contraction or tightening of the muscles. It usually appears in skeletal muscles.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis– It is a neurodegenerative disease that causes loss of control of one’s ability to control movements of the muscles.2 It affects the nerve cells of the brain, spinal cords and other nerve fibers that carry their impulses to the muscles. This may result in muscular spasms.
Deficiency Of Vitamins And Minerals– deficiency of certain vitamin B12, calcium, potassium can trigger muscle spasms. This deficiency can be caused due to inappropriate intake in the diet, dehydration or salt depletion resulted from diarrhea, exercising, or vomiting. This leads to spasms and contraction in the muscles.
Medications– certain medicines like anti-anxiety medicines, diuretics, sedatives, ACE inhibitors, etc. may cause muscle spasms. These medicines interfere with the body’s ability to send and receive impulses from the nerve fibers that may cause misinterpretation of messages leading to a contraction in the muscles.
Metabolic Disorder– metabolic disorder is a disorder that is characterized by a deficient supply of energy to the body. It causes a diminished supply of energy to the muscles leading to muscle spasms and weakness.
Poliomyelitis- poliomyelitis is an infectious disease of nerve cells that cause partial or complete paralysis of the body usually lower limbs.3 This infection is caused by poliovirus that is transmitted through air, stool, mucus or direct contact with the affected person. It causes painful spasms in the muscles which are also seen in other viral diseases like rabies or tetanus.
Parkinson’s Disease– it is a gradual degenerative disease of the central nervous system. It occurs in old people. It causes involuntary trembling of head, arms, hands, trunk, and legs leading to the postural disbalances. Reduced movement in Parkinson’s disease may cause spasms in the muscle.
Peripheral Artery Disease– it is a disease of the arteries characterized by deposition of cholesterol and fat on its walls. This causes narrowing of the arteries leading to the reduced blood supply to the extremities resulting in muscular spasms.
Huntington’s Disease– it is a genetic disorder that causes twitching and spasms of the muscles. It also causes learning disabilities, memory issues, concentration problems, decision making disabilities, depression and mood swings.
Wilson’s Disease– it is a rare disease characterized by over deposition of copper in the red blood cells, liver, and brain. This may cause sustained contractions in the muscles. The high levels of copper in the body may lead to jaundice, muscle twitching, swelling in arms, legs, etc.
Tourette’s Syndrome – it is a neurological illness that develops in early adolescence and early childhood. It causes muscle spasms and tics.4 It usually affects the face, torso muscles, and extremities in the early stages.
Muscle spasms mean contraction of muscles that happen unwillingly. They are usually short durational and harmless. They may affect one or more muscles of the body. Dehydration, deficiency of minerals and vitamins, stress, exertion, anxiety, and illness discussed above can cause muscle spasms.