One of the number one complaints people have after a spinal cord injury is muscle spasticity. It can interfere with everyday life and can be so severe they’re dangerous, possibly throwing people out of their wheelchairs or making transfers unsafe. Because of this, medication is usually the norm (Baclofen) to treat spasms.
But now, more than ever before, people are seeking natural treatments for their spasms. Not only are people seeking more effective treatments, but they also don’t like the side-effects. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies available for people with quadriplegia and paraplegia. Here are some of them below.
Range of Motion
One of the most important things you can do post-injury to prevent spasms is to do your daily range of motion regimen. While this may be repetitive and boring, it is highly important if you want to prevent muscle shortening, also known as muscle contracture. When this occurs, spasticity increases. Also, make sure you are positioned in your chair correctly to prevent spasms.
The sedentary effects of living with a spinal cord injury can lead to tightness and a loss of flexibility. Adaptive yoga can help your muscles, stretching them as you do poses. Adaptive yoga can also help with posture in your wheelchair, which can help lessen muscle spasms.
Medical marijuana is growing in popularity among people with spinal cord injuries in the prevention of muscle spasticity. People have reported success with both CBD and THC usage in various forms (pills, tincture, vaporization, edibles, lotions, and creams). Always consult with professionals before trying any medical marijuana products.
There are several supplements that exist that can help prevent muscle spasticity. Vitamin D can help prevent muscle spasms. Talk to your doctor about getting a daily supplement. Magnesium is reported to prevent muscle spasms. You can find it in foods such as bananas, almonds, and brown rice. Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory properties. Try chamomile essential oil that you can massage into your muscles or chamomile tea.
While this is usually a trick used by runners to stop muscle spasms after the long run, cherry juice can help prevent muscle spasms thanks to its abundant antioxidants which help relax muscles. Try to drink tart cherry juice for the best results. You can find tart cherry juice at many health food stores and juice bars.
Warm water can help immensely on tight muscles post-SCI. Warm water therapy in a tub with jets (or hot springs) is especially therapeutic. All of your muscles can be affected by the water when fully submerged. This can especially help if you want quick results.
Needles may sound scary, but acupuncture has been reported to help prevent spasms in many people with paralysis. Acupuncture helps the energy flow in your body, which releases neurotransmitters that help with inflammation. The Chanda Plan Foundation is a nonprofit that helps people with SCI access free acupuncture and massage. Link to the Chanda Plan: https://iamtheplan.org/
If muscle spasms are causing a lot of stress in your life, it is always worth trying any of the above natural remedies. And a glass of wine never hurts as well, but please make sure to drink responsibly.
Written by Vincent DolanA the Director of Public Affairs at SpinalCord.com Vincent has had the opportunity to speak with thousands of individuals (and families) during every step of the recovery process. Vincent has combined his legal and marketing expertise to create the single largest resource for those impacted by a spinal cord or other catastrophic injury. While gathering and sharing these resources Vincent also spends time answering the SpinalCord.com hotline which allows him to better understand what families are going through. Vincent is actively involved in supporting various non profits within the SCI community, and is always open to helping in whatever way he can. Vincent also works with our sponsors Swope, Rodante P.A. to ensure families have every opportunity to obtain the resources which improve the quality of life for individuals after a spinal cord injury.
See what Swope, Rodante Has Done for Others With Catastrophic Injuries
“What made me most excited was to be able to help my family, being able to pull the burden out of them that they’ve been struggling with. That’s what made me feel the best. Everything else to come, is to come. And we’re going to live life how we have been, just not going to have to worry about buying the supplies that I need.”
"As I got better, which I did in the future, I think I remember researching them [Swope, Rodante P.A.] myself and found that they are very good at what they do. "