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Muscle Twitching and Spasms After Exercise

author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
Muscle Twitching and Spasms After Exercise
A man is suffering from a muscle cramp. Photo Credit: travnikovstudio/iStock/Getty Images

After you finish a tough workout, you should feel sore and a little worn out — like you have challenged your muscles but will recover with time. While muscles spasms or twitching may be normal, explosions that make you feel like your muscles are about to jump out of your skin are not. You can take some preventive measures to ensure you do not experience this condition again. If you do, however, this may indicate a more serious problem — one about which you should consult your doctor.

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When you exercise, you contract major muscle groups in order to build muscle. Pulling in a hand weight toward your chest contracts your biceps muscle, for instance. When you straighten your arm, the muscle lengthens. You experience exercise-related twitching when you have contracted the muscles, yet a single muscle or muscle filament continues to contract although you are not moving it. Sometimes your muscles can twitch only slightly — so slightly that you do not notice. Muscle spasms are different because they involve contractions of many muscle fibers. A muscle explosion refers to the most severe spasm type, where the muscle feels hard, bulges or spasms to the point of injury.

What Causes Twitching and Spasms

Exercise can cause muscle twitch if you challenge your muscles beyond their typical contraction or when the muscles have been worked to the point of exhaustion. If the muscle is overstretched or torn during exercise, spasms can occur. Another cause of spasms and twitching is lack of fluids and minerals such as potassium and calcium that create muscle imbalances, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains. This is particularly true if you have sweated profusely or are dehydrated when you exercise.

Spasm Prevention and Treatment

If you experience muscle difficulties after exercising, you can engage in preventive measures like stretching before and after your exercise session and drinking plenty of fluids. Increase your exercise difficulty incrementally — not exponentially — by refraining from adding too much weight to your strength-training routine or too much time to your cardiovascular routine. If you do experience muscle twitches or spasms, try slow, gentle stretches of the muscle. Applying heat and taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen can help to relieve pain related to the muscle problem.

See Medical Attention

If you experience severe pain, like a muscle explosion, contact your doctor. If any muscle twitch or spasm lasts a long time or keeps coming back, you may have a serious condition. Examples of conditions that can result in muscle symptoms include kidney or thyroid function alteration or fibromyalgia, according to the MedlinePlus online medical encyclopedia.

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