Many people are well-versed in the common symptoms of anxiety-difficulty breathing, racing heart, sweaty palms and a variety of other symptoms. What many people may not realize is that muscle spasms are a common symptom of anxiety as well.
If muscle twitching is becoming a serious problem for you, it’s important to see a medical professional. Also, be prepared to explain when the twitching began, how often it happens, how long it lasts, and which muscles are affected. Your health provider may run tests to ensure that there are no underlying health conditions that may be causing your problem.
Muscle cramps are defined as involuntary contractions of a muscle. Typically, they come on unexpectedly, but fortunately, they usually don’t last long. People who ingest stimulants every day, such as caffeine, can exacerbate the condition. Muscle spasms can also be exacerbated by dehydration, so it’s important to stay well-hydrated. Another useful tip to gently stretch the afflicted muscle back to its original length to break up the spasm.
However, muscle spasms often have no physical cause; rather, they’re a result by the turbulent emotions the sufferer is experiencing. Anxiety can increase sensitivity to a variety of different stimuli, and can create reactions in the body that are a still a mystery to many scientists. The mind-body link is a fascinating area of research that scientists are just beginning to explore in greater depth. Anxiety often triggers the ancient and evolutionary “fight or flight” response, which was a necessary survival instinct in the days when humans had to regularly ward off threats. That response still exists in our modern world, thus, anxiety releases a whole host of bodily reactions that serve to protect us from predatory situations. When a person begins to experience anxiety, his or her adrenal gland is kicked into high gear to produce copious amounts of adrenaline to bring the body to its utmost efficiency. Muscle spasms can be a part of this process, leading to a litany of symptoms including, sweating, a racing heart and, yes, muscle spasms.
So now that we know where the source of the muscle spasms is coming from, how do we address it? Fortunately, there is plenty of hope out there for people who suffer from anxiety. A mainstay of anxiety treatment is as simple as deep breathing. To try this, begin by breathing in slowly for five seconds. Make sure that your breath is coming from deep within your diaphragm. Most of us don’t realize how shallow our breaths are, and this is not the type of breathing that is helpful in reducing anxiety. Hold your breath for another five seconds, and then slowly release. Keep repeating this until you begin to feel waves of relaxation flowing throughout your body. It often takes a lot of practice to learn how to calm your body down, so don’t feel frustrated it this seems like a fruitless endeavor in the beginning. There are also a variety of herbs that can be helpful, and chamomile tea has been shown to be a great help to people who are feeling anxious. Finally, cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you address faulty thinking that leads to anxiety.
Wedro, Benjamin. “Muscle Spasms.”Medicnenet. Dec 12, 2011. October 7, 2012.<www.medicinenet.com.>