It is widely believed in sports medicine circles that massage is a good muscle relaxer after intense exercise. Using massage to end pain from sports injuries or overuse including muscle spasms, cramps, sprains and strains helps to speed healing and relax the muscles.
A spasm is an unexpected, violent and involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles accompanied by a sudden burst of pain which is generally harmless but may interfere with function. It produces involuntary movement and distortion but ceases after a few minutes.
A spasm may occur due to a disease, strain, or injury to the muscle or nearby tissues. It could also be an impairment of circulation or disturbance of body chemistry which can be confined, severe or fairly generalized.
Painless or localized spasms are called tics. This involuntary movement of muscles, usually of the face, may seem to be a natural reaction or response to a certain stimulus but eventually, it will happen automatically even without any reason at all. Spasmodic muscle contraction may also be due to a large number of medical conditions, however, including dystonia.
Muscle spasms occur early after an injury takes place. It is characterized by a tightening of muscles in the area which could be painful at times but not always. Later on, when the basic injury is not fixed, muscle spasms form muscle knots which are painful and become part of the problem. Oftentimes, it is this pain from the muscle knots that pushes a person to seek muscle relaxer treatment. This is the case with injuries to the neck and back.
Muscle knots, also known as myofascial trigger points in medical term, are abnormal areas within the muscle which cause pain. There is still not much information as to what muscle knots really are. However, doctors made some biopsy test by cutting a piece out of muscle knots and results showed that some abnormal protein deposits seemed to be present in the sample tissue. Some treating practitioners believe that there is excessive connective tissue in these areas, but there is little evidence in the (unfortunately few) studies that have been done to support the idea of excess connective tissue.
The knots form because the spasm keeps the muscle working continuously around the clock which is beyond normal body function. Generally, our bodies move in normal activities with different muscles working in cycles. Since the muscles are not designed for such continuous work, time will come when muscle work overloads and forms these knots. That is why it is important that spasm is treated with available muscle relaxer treatments to help reduce this problem.
Treatment of muscle spasms and muscle knots must be done in close coordination with a medical professional or therapist. Aside from a relaxing massage, exercise is an important muscle relaxer method to help with muscle spasms and muscle knots. However, exercise and massage can become uncomfortable but the patient is expected to feel better later.
The treatments for muscle pains are as diverse as the causes. From over-the-counter and prescription drugs to mind-body techniques to acupuncture, if one approach doesn’t work, another one might. But when it comes to treating chronic pain, no single muscle relaxer technique is guaranteed to produce complete pain relief. Relief may be found by using a combination of treatment options.