Why We Sometimes Experience Stomach Muscle Spasms

When stomach muscle spasms are a problem, it can help to know which particular muscle is to blame. If this can be determined, it can sometimes be easier to find the cause, and perhaps find a way to prevent the muscle from causing problems in the future. Sometimes of course the cause of stomach muscle spasms, or spasms in any muscle for that matter, may be somewhat deep-seated, and difficult to point a finger to.

The Stomach Muscles - Our stomach muscles, often called the abdominal muscles, are very important. We're not talking about the stomach itself. The actual stomach muscle is dedicated to providing the movement necessary to properly digest food, and is a muscle that does not normally lend itself to cramping or to spasms, though in some cases it could. The stomach muscles being discussed here are as follows:

  • The transverse abdominus is a deep muscle which wraps around the torso, lending support to the back, much as a wide belt would. It is the muscle which affects body posture the most.


  • The oblique muscles. There are two pairs of oblique muscles, the external obliques, and the internal obliques. Located on either side of the torso, these muscles are involved with the rotation and flexing of the spine. The internal obliques, being the deeper of the two types of oblique muscles, have a strong influence on body posture as well, more so than do the external obliques which are nearer the surface.
  • The rectus abdominus controls the tilt of the pelvis, as well as the curvature of the lower spine. This is the best known of the abdominal muscles, and when well developed, is the muscle responsible for giving a person “6-pack abs”.


Besides their work in maintaining posture, and in the positioning of the spine, the abdominal muscles also take part in the breathing process by helping to force air out of the lungs when exhaling.

A Hard Working Group Of Muscles - These muscle groups are rather large, and are capable of performing a good deal of work. They are sometimes referred to as the core muscles and are usually put into play when we lift, pull, or push heavy things, and are also quite active in other athletic endeavors including running, swimming, swinging a bat or racket, or throwing a ball. Like any other muscles, they can have spasms that can be traced back to heavy work or overuse. Dehydration, fatigue, and the use of alcohol can also contribute to abdominal or stomach muscle spasms. If one or more of these muscles are strained or otherwise damaged, spasms are likely to be among the symptoms.

In most instances, stomach muscle spasms can be traced back to a specific action or activity the affected person has been participating in. Some physical activities are likely to affect one of the stomach muscles more so than the others. While this isn't true in all instances, the rectus abdominus and the external obliques are most apt to suffer spasms from overuse or muscle strain, as they are the more superficial of the stomach muscles. In most instances, the spasms do not indicate anything serious, and serve mainly to tell the person involved there may be a need to back off from certain activities a bit, or make more of an effort to keep from becoming dehydrated or overly fatigued.

When Other Symptoms Are Present - Muscle spasms, whether they are called abdominal muscle spasms, stomach muscle spasms, or core muscle spasms, are actually symptomatic of muscles feeling somewhat abused. Such spasms are in themselves not particularly serious. What could be a serious situation however is of the spasms are accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomit that is green or contains blood,  blood in the urine or stools, or severe pain in either the lower abdomen or the chest area. Shortness of breath, or a high fever accompanying the spasms, would also be an indication that a disorder is present that needs medical attention, perhaps prompt medical attention. Gastrointestinal disorders for example are often the cause of spasms which might occur in the stomach muscles.

For most of us, stomach muscles spasms most often occur when we hold the stomach muscles in the same position, usually an awkward position, for an extended period of time. If for example, we are leaning out over something, we may eventually feel a fluttering sensation in our core muscles, although in more extreme cases the muscles might experience cramping. Another way to experience these spasms is to do sit-ups, either more than your usual amount, or a dozen or so if you haven't done any for some time. The muscles will start to complain, often long before they get tired, by gently twitching. It's their way of asking you to stop.

Stomach muscle spasms can usually be kept to a minimum by following good dietary practices, warming up before any activity which will work these muscles particularly hard, and staying hydrated. If spasms are occurring when you are working out, talk to your personal trainer, as changing your form slightly may be all it takes to correct the problem.

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