Muscle pain or cramps are relatively common, affecting about 20% of Canadians. Their intensity and severity are different for everyone suffering from it and depend on the underlying cause.

Sometimes it may be a twitch or a knot sensation, while at other times, one may have excruciating pain. So, you may not be able to understand what your loved one may be going through when they have muscle pain or spasm.

You can help a loved one with cramps or pain by providing immediate first aid and taking them to a doctor if required. Besides, emotional support is equally important, especially when the pain is long-standing.

Let’s understand more about muscle pain or spasms and how you can help your loved one suffering from them.

Muscle Pain and Spasm- Causes & Symptoms

Some common causes of muscle pain and spasms are:

  • Overuse of the muscle
  • Skipping cooldowns and warmups
  • Muscle tension
  • Muscle injury
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Autoimmune disorders such as dermatomyositis and lupus
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Low potassium levels
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Infections such as polio, flu, or bacterial infections
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Medicines such as ACE inhibitors, statins, or cocaine

As mentioned above, pain and spasms may exhibit differently in everyone. Understanding common symptoms will help you understand what your loved one may be experiencing. 

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Sensation of pins and needles
  • A tremor
  • Poor coordination
  • Paralysis
  • Sleep problems
  • Pain in the neck, back, or head
  • Skin numbness
  • Double vision
  • Slow movements
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How Can You Help Someone Suffering?

People with pain or spasms may be irritable, tired, or withdrawn and may not be able to communicate their problems or emotions clearly. Sometimes, they may have no words to describe how they are feeling. All this can cause them to break down.

Here are some ways to help them:

Understand the Problem

Before anything, try and understand the situation. There are different types of pain, and each of them will need different strategies to tackle them.

Acute problems such as pain due to infection needs immediate medical attention. In such cases, it is best to take the person to a physician. On the other hand, lingering pain from arthritis will need long-term treatment.

So, know what type of pain you will be dealing with and help accordingly.

Hear Them Out

This may sound simple, but it may do wonders. Allowing someone to vent their feelings can help them feel better.

Try and understand what they are feeling or thinking. Sometimes their expression may help you know more about what they may be going through.

Distract Them With Activities

For long-term pain, distracting their attention will help to get rid of the pain temporarily. Some fun activities could include watching movies, playing a game, or having an interesting conversation.

Ask If They Need Help With Daily Responsibilities 

If your loved one is experiencing pain for a long time, try pitching in to help with their daily chores. 

You can prepare a meal for them or buy them groceries. You can also offer to watch their children or clean their house.

Avoid Asking About the Pain

You may care for them and thus want to know how their pain is. However, talking about pain may remind them about the presence of pain.

So, you can ask once in a while how they are doing but avoid talking about it frequently. 

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Don’t Take Things Personally

Severe pain may make your loved one irritable and angry. It may be possible that they would get frustrated with you for no reason.

But try and understand that this is just the despair talking. You will have to forgive things they do or say when they are in agony and try to be patient.

Gift Them Their Favorite Things

If the pain requires them to stay at home or be hospitalized, get them their favorite things. This could be a favorite meal or the latest copy of the magazine.

Believe When They Say They Are In Pain

Many believe that chronic sufferers of muscular pain exaggerate their problems or pain to avoid their responsibilities or gain sympathy.

However, this may not be the case. You may never understand what the opposite person may be feeling. So, be empathetic and believe them.

Accept The Fact That Pain Is Not What You Think

Pain is a subjective sensation that can be felt both physically and emotionally. The sensation of muscle pain involves psychological, physical, and neurological factors.

Pain may be associated with a range of emotions, including fear. If the pain persists for longer, it may result in depression and anxiety.

Besides, pain is different for everyone, depending on the underlying problem and personality of the person going through it.

All in all, you cannot know anyone’s pain.

So, try and avoid the statement “I understand what you may be feeling.” Just try and listen to what they have to say and help them wherever possible.

Treatment And Medication

Here are some things that can be done at home to manage muscle pain or spasms:

  • Massaging the affected area gently
  • Using a heating pad
  • Stopping any activity that initiated pain, such as running
  • Stretching the affected muscles gently
  • Applying an ice pack on the affected area
  • Stay hydrated
  • Try mild exercises such as walking or jogging
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If the above-mentioned strategies don’t seem to help, medicines can come to your rescue:

  • Non-prescription medications: Options such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), supplements, or natural muscle relaxers may help.
  • Topical creams: Over-the-counter pain-relieving creams may help that usually contain lidocaine and menthol.
  • Prescription medicines: If nothing seems to help, you can speak to your doctor, who will help you with muscle relaxants or other medication to help relieve pain.

Precautions And Lifestyle Changes

The following precautions and lifestyle changes may help limit or prevent muscle pain or spasm:

  • Stretch your muscles before engaging in physical activity and after workouts.
  • Incorporate a warmup and a cooldown into all of your exercise sessions, around 5 minutes each.
  • Stay hydrated, especially on days when you’re active.
  • Engage in regular exercise to help promote optimal muscle tone.
  • Get up and stretch regularly if you work at a desk or in an environment that puts you at risk for muscle strain or tension.

Final Thoughts

Muscle pain or spasm is a prevalent problem and may not be easy to deal with. They may vary in intensity and frequency for anyone suffering from pain.

Helping the person with even basic lines of support can mean a great deal to them. Try and be positive throughout your experience and avoid taking things personally.

Pain and spasms are often temporary, and with the support of a loved one, it becomes to manage it over time.


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