Muscle Spasms and Trigger Points
Some Causes and Cures
7/25/08
Published in the Times Standard
 
 
            Patients often complain of muscle spasms or cramping and what to do about it.  I always suggest we need to determine if it is a structural, nutritional or stress-related problem or all three.
            A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of sudden movement or convulsion.  They can be tonic (continuous) or clonic (alternating contraction and relaxation).  If the spasm is severe and painful, it is called a cramp.  Spasms can occur in visceral (smooth) muscle or in skeletal (striated) muscle.  Today’s discussion relates to skeletal muscle spasms and trigger points. I will address smooth muscle spasms at another time.
            Many times muscle spasms are an indication of a structural misalignment. If a bone or vertebra has been slightly displaced or subluxated and a nerve is being compressed or pinched, the related muscle will spasm.  This can be a protective mechanism called muscle guarding to protect the joints and nerves from further injury.  (Often occurs in whiplash injuries)
            Tension and stress often lead to chronic muscle tightness and spasms.  If left untreated, an area of exquisite tenderness develops, usually in the muscle belly.  This area can feel like a small marble in the muscle.  This is a trigger point.  This chronic tension inhibits circulation and nerve flow through the area triggering a cascade of other negative effects in related tissues and organs. Headaches, numbness and tingling in extremities, fatigue, and diminished range of joint motion are some of these negative effects.  If the muscle is attached to a spinal vertebra, the spasm can subluxate the bone, pinching off specific nerve flow to other spinal muscles. Without nerve messages, the inhibitory mechanisms are disrupted to the muscle.  The muscle does not know how to act, so spasms recur.  The cycle continues until the trigger point is released and the spinal misalignment is corrected.
              Patients suffering “night cramps”, especially in their legs, often have nutritional deficiencies.  Without getting into too much detail suffice it to say that calcium, magnesium,potassium and phosphorus are some of the major players here.  There needs to be a balance of these nutrients in certain ratios for muscles and joints to relax and contract.
            Specific techniques and instruments are utilized at our office to achieve the maximum relief in the shortest time span.
            Call us for a free consultation to analyze your specific problem.  You could be on your way to achieving your maximum potential with help through chiropractic naturally.
 
 
Crosbie  Chiropractic
Michael H. Crosbie, D.C.
1828 Main Street
Fortuna, CA 95540
(707) 725-5668
www.crosbiechiropractic.com