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Spasms in the chest: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Spasms in the chest are an alteration that occurs due to multiple causes. These muscle spasms are also called cramps and are defined as sustained involuntary contractions that occur in different parts of the body. When they are evident in the chest, they cause great alarm, therefore, they become a reason for medical consultation in hospital centers due to the symptoms that accompany them.

These spasms in the chest can last minutes or seconds, in most cases, the symptoms are temporary, although they will depend on the cause. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain why they give chest spasms , what are their symptoms and their treatment.

Why do they give chest spasms: causes

Chest spasms can be caused by multiple causes, including:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries: can occur due to muscle problems in the chest and back area.
  • Nerve compression caused by a bone marrow injury or pinched nerve in the neck, chest or back.
  • Coronary artery disease: can be caused by arteriosclerosis , which causes damage to the wall of the artery, which is responsible for transporting blood to the heart. The presence of an atheromatous plaque will cause a decrease in blood flow, thus reaching less oxygen to the heart muscle, producing muscle spasms in the chest.
  • Esophageal spasms: gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux , or the consumption of certain foods can trigger the appearance of this disorder.
  • Hypercholesterolemia: Increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides can lead to muscle spasms in the chest due to slowing of blood flow in the body.
  • Hydroelectrolyte imbalance: low levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium can be produced by taking diuretics, endocrine disorders, vitamin D deficiency.
  • Myocardial infarction : this alteration occurs due to the decrease in blood supply to the heart.
  • Anemia: Low levels of hemoglobin in the blood can cause muscle spasms in the chest. This is because oxygen is carried by hemoglobin, and when it decreases in the body it can cause muscle spasms in the chest.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking has a vasoconstrictive effect that causes severe spasm in the arteries.
  • Intense emotional stress can generate anxiety and depression, which generate the appearance of muscle spasms in the chest.
  • The use of vasoconstrictor drugs tends to cause muscle spasms in the chest, even the use of drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine, depending on the dose consumed, can trigger this alteration.
  • Kidney disorders: patients undergoing dialysis may suffer from muscle spasms, a product of fluid and electrolyte imbalance.

Risk factors for chest muscle spasms

There are some factors that favor the appearance of muscle spasms in the chest, among them are:

  • Excessive physical exertion.
  • Dehydration
  • Exposure to cold weather.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Low blood sugar levels.
  • Undiagnosed silent degenerative chronic diseases.

Symptoms of chest spasms

The symptoms of spasms in the chest depend on the cause that has caused them, but among them we can mention:

  • Crushing pain in the chest.
  • Anxiety.
  • Profuse sweating
  • Marked pallor.
  • Difficulty swallowing and sometimes breathing.
  • Sickness.
  • Dizziness

People who are most at risk for chest muscle spasms include the following:

  • People with chronic and degenerative diseases.
  • Older adults.
  • Athletes.
  • Overweight people.

Spasms in the chest: treatment

The doctor, after medical consultation and according to the symptoms you present, will establish the diagnosis and indicate the treatment to follow. The treatment of spasms in the chest could include:

  • If the muscle spasm is due to musculoskeletal problems, the specialist will recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen.
  • When the muscle spasm in the chest is the product of an anginal process, the doctor will recommend the intake of nitrates, such as nitroglycerin, which will improve blood flow to the heart by dilating the coronary arteries.
  • If it is palpitations, what is indicated in this case will be beta-blocker drugs used to slow the heart rate and improve blood flow to the body. With this, irregular heartbeats are regularized, as well as episodes of hypertension.
  • In the event that an anxious condition is the origin of the muscle spasm in the chest, medications will be indicated to control anxiety, such as anxiolytics. Its effect will be relaxing and will help control the patient’s symptoms.
  • If muscle spasms in the chest are due to a digestive problem and are accompanied by heartburn or reflux, antacids are an excellent indication to improve this condition.

Finally, muscle spasms in the chest are the product of multiple causes, based on that, the symptoms can be diverse and are indicative that something is happening in the body, which should be checked by a doctor.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Chest Spasms: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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