Muscle Cramps and Spasms: What to Know
By Sara Butler
Almost everyone has awakened in the middle of the night by a sudden seizing of the muscles in their leg causing an incredible amount of pain. Muscle cramps and spasms are something nearly everyone has to deal with in their lives, but it is possible to uncover what may be causing your spasms or cramps and do something about it. Here is what you should know about muscle spasms and cramps and how chiropractic can help!
What is a Muscle Cramp?
A muscle cramp or muscle spasm is the sudden, involuntary and severe contraction of a muscle. It can happen to any muscle in the body and can last for a few seconds, a few minutes or even days. Doesn’t that sound like a nightmare? The length of the spasm depends on the cause of it. Muscle spasms are normally caused by:
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Nerve irritation
- Side effects of a medication
- Underlying medical issue
- Muscle imbalance
These spasms are actually a way your body protects itself. The good news for you is that these cramps and spasms normally respond well to chiropractic treatment.
Pinpoint the Cause
In order to treat your muscle spasm you first must know what the cause of it is. The muscles that are involved in the cramp help your chiropractor determine what is causing them. Generally:
- Cramps in the muscles of the calf, feet, and hamstring – These muscle spasms are usually caused by dehydration, fatigue or an electrolyte imbalance.
- Cramps in the neck, forearm, hand, foot or calf – Spasms in these places point to nerve irritation, perhaps from a disc injury.
- Cramps in the neck, lower back, and mid-back – Spasms here usually involve a joint sprain of some kind.
- Cramps of the paraspinal muscles that run close to the spine – Spasms are usually the result of a facet joint sprain.
Treatment and Prevention
Your best line of defense against muscle cramps is to see your chiropractor regularly. Regular adjustments will help to keep your body aligned and muscles from becoming imbalanced. You should also make sure you stretch and massage the area if you experience a cramp. It might be painful, but since the muscle is contracting you want to try to counteract that. Keep in mind stretching and massage will only bring temporary relief.
You should also make sure you:
- Drink plenty of water daily
- Make sure you eat right
- Stretch daily to help increase or maintain flexibility
If you have questions about muscle spasms you are experiencing, discuss it with your chiropractor during your next visit to The Joint Chiropractic.