If you looking how to stop involuntary muscle twitching naturally, home remedies for muscle spasms may be just what you need. Most of these remedies do not have any scientific backing but cultural and anecdotal evidences place them highly on alternative treatments for muscle spasms that work. Below read more on muscle spasms, their causes with natural, herbal and homeopathic treatments for muscle cramps in back, in arm, chest and legs.
Muscle spasm is the involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. It can also be used to refer to a muscle cramp which is often accompanied by pain. The muscles suddenly become tight and extremely painful. The leg muscles are often involved but can also affect other muscles or muscle groups. Sometimes called charley horses (especially when involving the calf muscles, these involuntary muscle spasms and pain are usually brief.
Note that muscles spasms may be taken to mean tightness, twitching or a sudden burst of pain that may hinder movement for a short while. Common signs and symptoms of muscle spasms are, loss of function, abnormal muscle rigidity, pain and difficulty in moving turning or bending the affected area.
What causes muscles cramps? Muscle spasms may be caused by overuse or underuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle fatigue or certain medications. Other significant causes of muscle spasms include:
- Magnesium or potassium deficiency
- Calcium deficiency in pregnant women
- Malfunctioning nerves
- Poor blood circulation to the specific muscle
- Insufficient stretching before exercise
Medications known to cause muscle spasms include:
- Diuretics such as Lasix and hydrochlorothiazide
- Osteoporosis treatment- Evista
- Asthma medications- ventolin
- Statin medications for cholesterol- atorvastatin
- Certain treatments for angina, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease and Myasthenia Gravis
Home Remedies for Muscle Spasms
Cramps and tightness in your muscles can easily stop you from walking and doing your daily chores. If you feel such a problem, seeing a doctor may be very important. However, you may try some home treatments too. Here is how to stop muscle spasms with home remedies, and also prevent them from occurring.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Muscle Cramps
ACV is a great tonic and one of the best home remedies for muscle spasms. It dissolves acid crystals in the blood. It is also high in potassium which might just be why you having those night time leg cramps.
- In a glass of warm water, mix two tablespoons of ACV and a teaspoon of honey.
Just to think of it, by the time you pull your way to the kitchen, the muscle cramp will probably be long gone. The idea here is, if you get muscle cramps frequently, taking this drink daily may prevent them.
Taking pickle juice is one of the old school home remedies for muscle spasms that are employed by athletes to rapidly cure muscles cramps. According to DR. Miller, Ph. D and assistant professor in the Athletic Training Education Program and North Dakota University, “Pickle juice may work by countermanding the malfunction.
Something in the acidic juice, perhaps even a specific molecule of some kind, may be lighting up specialized nervous-system receptors which, in turn, send out nerve signals that somehow disrupt the reflex melee in the muscles.”
Studies show that pickle juice relieves muscle cramps in just less than one minute not by supplying electrolytes but because the salty taste of pickle juice tricks the brain into relaxing the muscles. Dr. Oz on Pickle Juice for Muscle Cramps says, “Drink 2.5 ounces at the onset of cramp.”
Celery seeds for Back Spasms
Celery as one of the home remedies for muscle spasms has anti-inflammatory properties that can effectively prevent acute spasms.
- Finely grind whole celery seeds
- Mix one teaspoon of this ground celery seeds with a cup of hot boiling water
- Steep for 10 minutes and strain
- Drink this tea twice daily for pain relief
Celery is also available in form of tablets, fresh or dried seeds, capsules and celery seed extract. Capsules can be taken three times daily to relax muscles and relieve pain.
Lavender oil can be used as herbal remedy for leg cramps. It is excellent in pain relief and relaxation. It has anti-inflammatory and sedative properties that help relieve muscle tension and spasms.
- Mix lavender and olive oil
- Rub the mixture onto the legs to provide relief
- Remove the mixture after 10 minutes
Other essential oils that can be used in the same way for pain relief include; eucalyptus, clary sage, thyme and sandalwood.
Passion Flower for Spasms in Legs
Passion flower has antispasmodic and sedative effects which make it one of the most effective home remedies for muscle spasms. It can be used to relieve muscle tension and nocturnal leg cramps. Passion flower can be found in tea, tablet form or liquid extract.
- Add one teaspoon of dried passion flower to a cup of boiling water. Leave it for 15 minutes to infuse, sieve and drink
- If using fluid extract, use 10-30 drops three times a day
- For tincture, use 10-60 drops a day or as recommended by the manufacturer
Do not take passion flower if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that is recognized as an effective remedy for muscle spasms. The active ingredient in lemon balm eugenol can help treat muscle spasms, reduce pain and relax the mind.
Lemon balm is available as tea, capsules, extracts, tinctures and oil and the effective dose depends on the formulation you use. Consult a doctor or read manufactures guidelines for dosage and how to use lemon balm for muscle spasms.
Cayenne Pepper Remedy for Lower Back Spasms
Cayenne pepper or red pepper is used for various problems including on the skin to relieve muscle spasms. It contains capsaicin which when applied to the skin reduces pain sensations. Cayenne also stimulates circulation and increases blood flow to the area which may hasten healing.
- Mix cayenne pepper with olive oil and massage it to the affected area.
- Rubs containing capsaicin are recommended for pain relief in arthritis, muscle pain and soreness.
- Capsaicin pain relieving creams can also be used to relieve muscle spasms and soreness in the back.
Be careful, applying high strengths of capsaicin or closely may cause a burning sensation to the skin. Do not apply on mucous membranes or let it get into the eyes.
To make cayenne warming oil:
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon crushed mustard seeds
2 teaspoon grated ginger root
250 ml (8 fl oz) sunflower oil
Mix above ingredients in a glass jar, and leave to infuse for 1 week. Strain the oil and massage it into the affected area to treat muscle and joint pain.
Studies show that ginger root may be effective as a topical anti-inflammatory. Adding ginger to your diet may help to stop those painful leg cramps or soothe muscle soreness. Ginger warming essential oil improves circulation and blood flow to the affected area relieving pain and fatigued muscles.
Alternatively, make ginger tea by
- Adding 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger into hot water,
- Steep for 15 minutes, strain and add honey or lemon to taste
- Take this tea as needed to relieve muscle cramps.
Natural Remedies for Muscle Spasms
At one time or another people may experience muscle spasms from overuse or underuse of certain muscle or group of muscles. Muscle cramps are extremely common in adults and become increasingly frequent with aging. If you have muscle spasms in legs or thighs, use these natural remedies for spasms to can provide much needed relief.
Hydration to Relieve Muscle Cramps in Thighs Naturally
Dehydration is one of the common causes of muscle cramps. The hotter you get, the more likely you are to get muscle cramps. Loss of fluid and changes in electrolytes, sodium and potassium can lead to muscle cramps as this affects the neurotransmission of signals.
Drinking plenty of fluid before, during, and after exercise is also very important. If you are going to have an active day in the heat, have a sports drink with sodium and regularly take water throughout the day. The recommended daily water intake is eight glasses.
Stretching and Massage
When muscle cramp, they tighten up with pain. Slow gentle stretching of the affected area will relieve the tight feeling and diffuse the pain. . Stretching helps muscle fibers in the leg to relax and ‘warm up’. It is a good idea to warm muscles up before exercise using moderate stretching techniques, and cooling down stretches after a workout. Never train too vigorously before bed or do sudden movements without warming up.
Massage is becoming widely popular among natural remedies for back spasms. Light massage increases blood flow, decreases muscle tension and increases endorphin (feel good hormones) levels in the brain.
Heat Treatment to Stop Twitching Muscles
The use of heat or warming therapy has been shown to be effective in treating problems like, muscle spasms in neck, shoulders or upper back. Heat relaxes muscles, improve circulation and soothe tight muscles.
Note that, heat should never be applied on a fresh injury-tissue that has been physically damaged. Heat application on fresh injuries increases blood flow, adding on to the swelling and pain.
Acupuncture is one of the natural cures for muscle cramping and spasms that is rising fast in popularity. It is used to relieve pain and disease by stimulating specific nerve endings or muscles in the body. Effective acupuncture sessions should help relax muscles. For chronic muscle cramping, you might require a series of treatments and complement acupuncture with an alternative treatment like massage.
Foods and Diet to Prevent Muscle Spasms
A healthy diet is one way how to treat muscle spasms. Always ensure you are getting enough potassium (bananas, potatoes, soya flour, bran and apricots are good sources). Speak to your nutritionist about getting the correct minerals, vitamins and electrolytes into your body.
More tips on how to prevent muscle spasms
- Keep your muscles loose and flexible by practicing stretching exercises.
- Slow down by pacing your activities and resting during the day.
- Keep your muscles warm when spasm triggers occur. Options include taking a hot bath or shower and dressing warmly when the weather becomes colder.
- Place a heat or ice pack on the affected area to relax the muscle spasm.
- Improve your posture by learning to balance your body (from front to back and side to side, while sitting, standing and walking) so that the muscles do not have to fight gravity to keep you upright.
- Lessen your intake of acidic foods such as tomatoes and vinegar.
- Reduce tension and stress by practicing relaxation techniques
- Increase your intake of mineral and electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Herbal Remedies for Muscle Spasms
Herbal remedies for muscle spasms are becoming common as alternative treatment for various ailments. There are many scientific studies ongoing on how different plants in form of roots, leaves, flowers, seeds and barks can be used effectively for treatment. Although many research studies are still ongoing, there is anecdotal evidence to show that these herbs really work. Here is how to use herbal remedies for muscle spasms.
This home remedy for cramps is most commonly used for menstrual cramps but can also be used to relieve pain in other parts of the body and muscle spasms. It is often sold in tincture form- take 30-60 drops an hour of cramp bark tincture and decrease the dosage as the symptoms disappear.
- Take a bath containing rosemary oil or massage the legs with rosemary oil. A combination of rosemary, arnica and eucalyptus oils can be used for better results.
- Alternatively, brew rosemary tea by adding dried rosemary needles to a cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes and strain off the leaves. Drink this twice daily
Rosemary may cause uterine contractions. Do not use rosemary if pregnant.
Different types of herbal teas can be used to relieve pain that comes with muscle cramps. Chamomile contains glycine a compound that has muscle relaxing properties.
- Boil silverweed, balm leaves and chamomile flowers in water and steep for 10 minutes
- Strain and add honey to taste
- Take this tea as needed to relieve muscle pain
- Alternatively, massage chamomile oil to the affected area to soothe muscle spasms
Caution: chamomile is a uterine stimulant- it is not recommended if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Since it causes drowsiness, do not drink chamomile and drive.
Yarrow tea is a potent herb that can relax the body, ease pain and increase blood flow to the affected muscles. It is a powerful restorative and analgesic pain reliever with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Good for muscle and joint aches and pains.
Yarrow tea has strong medicinal properties and should be limited to a week of continued use and thereafter used occasionally like any other tea to prevent muscle spasms.
Alternatively, you can soak a towel in yarrow tea and apply it directly to the affected muscles to relax muscle and relieve pain.
For active individuals and those who often get muscle spasms, daily intake of 1 teaspoon of yarrow can protect from muscle spasms and cramps.
Note: Do not drink yarrow and drive. It is not recommended for pregnant women as it may cause a miscarriage.
To stop muscle spasms,
- Mix 8-10 drops of wild yam with water
- Directly rub this mixture on the affected area
- Alternatively, boil dried yam root in a cup of water to make tea. Drink it twice daily to provide quick relief from leg cramps.
It is important to remember that to relieve pain, most of these herbal remedies relax muscles and may sedate or cause drowsiness. Talk to your doctor or naturopath before taking these herbs as some may cause bad allergic reactions. After consumption of sedating remedies, do not drink or operate heavy machinery. Avoid muscle stimulants or relaxants if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant- they might cause miscarriages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Muscle Spasms
Homeopathy is one of the most effective home remedies for back spasms. It is a natural system of healing making it widely acceptable for treatment of various illnesses. It offers fast pain relief and long term treatment for muscle spasms without side effects. Here are the best homeopathic remedies and medicines for treating muscle spasms and pain.
Known as the ‘overworked muscle remedy’ arnica Montana can be used to treat muscle cramps in the lower back-resulting from too much exercise or over exertion caused by muscle fatigue with light pressure and prolonged movement. It provides fast relief from pain and trauma.
For muscle spasms, use external ointments and tinctures: Rub or massage arnica tincture freely onto injured area, only if skin isn’t broken.
Arnica compresses: Mix 1 tablespoon of arnica tincture in 1 pint of purified water. Dip a gauze pad in the mixture, and then put it on the arthritic joint or bruised area.
Homeopathic arnica pills: Pour 4 pills into the cap of the bottle, and toss them into your mouth, under the tongue. (Never handle homeopathic pills, in order to preserve their energetic qualities.) The pills can be taken every two hours for the first 24 hours after the injury, but not within a half-hour of eating.
This homeopathic remedy is derived from copper but prepared in a way that there are no traces of copper whatsoever. Cuprum met is an excellent remedy for all types of muscle cramps. It works well as a homeopathic remedy for muscles in the legs, feet and calves when there is tension with pain at night.
Other homeopathic treatments for muscle spasms include,
- Calcarea Phosphorica
- Calcarea carbonica
- Natrum muriaticum
- Rhus toxicodendron
Dr. Vikas Sharma MD says, “Homeopathy is much more of a choice than we often think it to be. It is a constant reminder of the body’s great innate capacity to heal itself.” Even so, it is always good to consult with a naturopath on proper indications and doses of these homeopathic treatments.
While home remedies for muscle spasms might work for cramps caused by nutrient deprivation, some muscle spasms are associated with other conditions like, cerebral palsy, trauma, dehydration and multiple sclerosis. These conditions must be treated in order to eliminate the muscle spasms caused by them. If you get frequent muscle spasms associated with severe cramps or constant pain, it is best to see a doctor to rule out possibility of systemic illnesses, musculoskeletal conditions, nerve damage or electrolyte imbalances.
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