Muscle Relaxant

A muscle relaxant is commonly used as a term of “painkiller”. The basic work of a muscle relaxant is to alleviate symptoms such as muscle spasms, pain, and hyperreflexia. This kind of drug affects skeletal muscle function and decreases the muscle tone. Several types of muscle relaxants exist to help relieve the short-term pain caused by certain injuries, while others exist to help relieve the symptoms of various chronic conditions.

Reasons, Occurrence and risk Factors

A muscle cramp is a strong and painful spasm of a muscle. Any muscle can be affected, but the muscles of the calf and foot are mainly tending to this pain. A cramp can last for unpredictable periods of time and generally reduces by itself. The actual reason behind cramp is unknown but risk factors may include poor physical condition, mineral and electrolyte imbalances and tight, inflexible muscles.

The common causes of muscle spasms or muscle pain are as follows:

  • Poor physical condition
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Inadequate diet
  • Physical overexertion
  • Physical exertion of cold muscles
  • Muscle injury
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Dehydration – caused by, for example, a bout of gastroenteritis
  • Reduced blood supply (ischaemia)
  • Wearing high-heeled shoes for lengthy periods
  • Tight, inflexible muscles

Symptoms

The symptoms of muscle spasms or muscle pain is really painful for the patient as it severly interrupts the movement of the person and stops having an active life.
The symptoms of a muscle cramp include:

  • Sudden sensation of uncontrollable and painful spasms in the muscle
  • Muscle twitching
  • Sudden and sharp muscle pain like spasm, contraction, often in your legs and hands or other parts of your body
  • A hard lump of muscle tissue that you can feel or is visible beneath your skin

Signs and tests

In muscle spasm or pain there are no routine examinations done but the doctor takes the medical history of the patient and performs a physical exam. During the exam, it’s important to establish whether the muscle is partially or completely torn which can involve a much longer healing process, possible surgery, and a more complicated recovery).
In some cases X-rays or lab tests are done, but more importantly if the doctor finds that there was a history of trauma or evidence of infection.

Prevention

The most important way to prevent muscle spasms is to drink lot of fluids. Fluids help your muscles contract and relax and keep muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. During the activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals, and continue drinking water or other fluids after you’re finished.

The other ways are available to reduce your chances to muscle spasms:

  • Increase your level of physical fitness.
  • Incorporate regular stretching into your fitness routine.
  • Warm up and cool down thoroughly whenever you exercise or play sport.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
  • Make sure your diet is nutritionally adequate, and include plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • A regular massage may help to reduce muscle tension.
  • Wear properly fitted shoes and avoid high heels

Treatment

Stretch and massage – lengthen the cramping muscle using a gentle, sustained stretch then lightly massage the area until the cramp subsides. If you are unsure how to stretch leg muscles, see your physiotherapist for advice.

Icepack – in cases of severe cramp, an icepack applied for a few minutes may help the muscle to relax.

Medication – some medications can be helpful to control muscle cramps. Some muscle relaxants are Acetaminophen, Aspirin, Ibuprofen and many others.

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