Is Your Fibromyalgia Causing Muscle Spasms?

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The relation between fibromyalgia and muscle spasms

A muscle spasm can be felt either in individual parts of the body or throughout the entire body, but it is most often felt in the neck, shoulders and back. Muscle spasms and fibromyalgia go hand in hand since someone experiencing the spasms may also be feeling the additional symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Do you sometimes have muscles that tighten up and won’t relax no matter what you do? That’s called a muscle spasm, and a lot of people with fibromyalgia have this problem. In fact, some researchers consider it a major source of our pain. The topic of the relationship between fibromyalgia and muscle spasms is widely discussed. Even through fibromyalgia and muscle spasms are vastly different from one another, it is still believed that there is more to their relationship than one might expect.

Muscle spasm

Muscle spasm is a sudden, painful, involuntary and prolonged contraction of a muscle or group of muscles, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes, involving usually postural muscles. The subject of muscle spasms is heavily searched on the internet.  This can be explained because muscles go into spasm, or involuntary contraction, for a wide variety of reasons.

A prolonged muscle spasm is a cramp. A muscle twitch, which is an uncontrollable contraction that is painless and occurs in a small area of the muscle so that the actual muscle can be seen contracting underneath the skin. Muscle twitches occur in the legs, thumbs, or eyelid, and are the results of extreme anxiety and/or stress.

There are a few reasons why muscles undergo contraction. Some muscles undergo contraction for no apparent reason, even though they do so frequently.

Can fibromyalgia causes muscle spasm?

Fibromyalgia is a little understood syndrome whose mechanism of causing all its bizarre symptoms is still mired in controversy.  It primarily affects women over 30 years of age, although children display this syndrome as well as men of all ages. It is a complex problem in which pain and spasms or even twitches can be experienced in all parts of the body in some suffers, or just in certain areas of the muscles around the joints of the neck, shoulders, back and buttocks in other sufferers.

Because of the primary complaints of pain and spasm in muscles, fibromyalgia has been called muscular rheumatism and fibromyositis; it is the second most common problem seen by rheumatologists. In fact, these spasms in people who have fibromyalgia, that the cause of muscular rheumatism is believed to be due to the uncontrollable contraction of muscle spasms in the affected areas.

A number of people who suffer with fibromyalgia and also have muscle spasms have been observed and tested and the results have yielded interesting facts about the changes in those patients’ cells. The pain that is so typical of fibromyalgia is now commonly agreed to be due to uncontrolled contraction, or muscle spasm, of the muscle cells of the involved areas.  

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If spinal muscles in the low back and buttock are involved in an individual then low back pain will be reported; if muscles at the base of head are involved then headaches will be the complaint reported. Researchers discovered that some patients had a change in the mitochondria in the muscle cells, others had abnormalities in the pain receptor metabolisms of their cells (these patients also reported feeling the most pain), and lastly, micro blood circulation changes, which results in constriction of the capillaries in the tissues of where the muscle spasm occurs (and thus explains the muscle spasm).

Most common muscles affected

Of interest in understanding how fibromyalgia develops in a person, any muscle can be affected, but most often the central postural muscles (spine, thorax, abdomen and buttocks) are the most usual sites of pain and spasms. The other common area for fibromyalgia muscle spasms is around the leg muscles from the long sartorius muscle in the upper leg to the calves and even into the ankles and feet.

This is one area where I often caution people about stretching first thing in the morning. You see, the body is less hydrated, less flexible and more prone to early morning spasms. It might also happen that you cannot control the urge to stretch, and you find your muscles going into spasm without you even knowing, that is until the extreme pain occurs!

Treatment

  • >Muscle spasms can be hard to get rid of, so fortunately we have a lot of options. Things you can try at home include:
  • >Heat and ice, or alternating between the two
  • >Topical medications like like Aspercreme, Tiger balm or BioFreeze
  • >Relaxation/meditation
  • >Gentle streching/yoga
  • >Salt baths of epsom
  • >Rest
  • >Self massage

Simple stretching

Have you ever tried simply stretching? This is an excellent way to relax your muscle and increase blood flow and circulation to them.  Blood flow and circulation alone will ease any existing pain you feel and diminish the chances of developing higher levels of pain in the future.

Keep the affected areas warm

Keep the affected areas warm at all times if possible, especially in cooler weather. Keeping your muscles warm will aid in circulating blood.  In cold weather, dress warmly and keep the temperature up at your home, or shower in hot water.

 

Examine your habits

It can pay to really examine your habits and see what things you do that may aggravate your muscles and make simple changes. If you need help fixing your posture, you may want to talk to your doctor about physical therapy.

Prevention

You may not be able to prevent muscle spasms all together, but building muscle tone, stretching gently, and keeping your body in good condition through cardio exercise will at least ensure that your muscles have a better fighting chance to avoid spasms and even trigger point pain. If you do still experience muscle spasms, there are other treatment options to help you get over the pain and discomfort.

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Also Read:

Guilt – How It Affects Those With Chronic Illness

References:

  • Link between muscle spasm and fibromyalgia via Chronic Body Pain
  • Are my muscle spasms from fibromyalgia or something else? A doctor explains via Dr Lumbago

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