Posts for tag: Muscle Cramps
By High Desert Family Medicine
October 15, 2021
Category: Osteopathic Care
There are a variety of reasons why people can get muscle cramps. From dehydration to lack of vitamins and minerals, muscle cramps can be painful and even scary. Luckily, most muscle cramps are thought to be due to the overuse of muscles, muscle strains, or holding a position for too long.
Stretching can help tackle these common causes of muscle cramps and help people find relief from cramps. In addition, stretching can help prevent future muscle cramps from forming and strengthen your body overall.
How Can Stretching Help my Muscle Cramps?
Stretching your muscles helps cramps by massaging out the affected muscle and allowing it to relax again. Cramps are caused by muscles not being able to relax, causing a contraction that is uncontrollable. Stretching, using a warm compress, and making sure to stay hydrated can all help alleviate even the most painful muscle cramps.
Proper Stretching Techniques
No matter the muscle you stretch, it's important to never over-extend muscles through stretching. This can cause increased injury and can even lead to muscle sprains and strains. Instead, when stretching your muscles, start off slow and warm up your muscles by walking or doing gentle movements. For the arms, arm circles are a good start. For the legs, doing gentle running in place or walking can help.
Every muscle can benefit from different stretches. For instance, intense back cramps can benefit from the child's pose in yoga, which involves kneeling on the ground and placing your front torso forward with outstretched arms. Alternatively, you can try knees to chest stretch, or a lumbar rotation stretch.
More common muscle cramps that involve the calf can be treated with gentle stretching by pulling the toes toward the body while keeping the knees as straight as possible.
How Long Do I Stretch For?
Whatever stretch you choose to do, it's important to remember to hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds. It takes time for the muscle to fully benefit from the stretch. However, if you find yourself in extreme pain, do not continue with the stretch. Instead, go back to the least painful position and hold the stretch from there.
Other Benefits of Stretching
Besides being good for muscle cramps, stretching can also help people with:
- Stress relief
- Improve their posture
- Improve blood flow to the muscles
- Improve flexibility
- Help range of motion
Stretching can help you feel immediate relief from cramps and are a great alternative to muscle relaxers and other pain medication. However, if you feel stretching doesn't help your cramps, or your cramps continue, speak to your osteopath today.
By High Desert Family Medicine
September 08, 2020
We all get muscle cramps from time to time. Maybe our feet cramp up when placed into tight shoes or high heels, or we experience muscle cramps after an intense workout; however, some people deal with chronic, recurring, and severe muscle cramping that can be painful and affect their daily routine. If recurring muscle cramps are happening to you, an osteopath can help.
Anyone can experience muscle cramps, but they are more commonly seen in seniors, athletes, and those who are overweight or obese. If you notice muscle cramping happening to you regularly, here are a few things that could be going on:
- You are dehydrated (common if you are exercising in the heat)
- There is an electrolyte imbalance in the body (e.g. sodium; potassium)
- You aren’t stretching thoroughly and properly before exercising
- Your muscles are tired (give ‘em a rest!)
How to Treat Muscle Cramps
While cramping can be a nuisance it’s usually not something to worry about and will go away on its own. If you are dealing with prolonged muscle cramping then you may want to massage the area, take ample time to rest, or apply moist heat to the area.
However, it may be time to see an osteopath if you are dealing with severe or frequent muscle cramps or if your cramps aren’t responding to rest and other home care. Sometimes muscle cramps can be a sign of other underlying issues such as hormone imbalances, medication side effects, circulation or nerve issues, or poor nutrition.
Osteopathy will focus on the root cause of your muscle cramps, ruling out potential nutritional deficiencies, health problems, and hormonal imbalances. Cramping caused by muscle tension is improved through regular osteopathic manipulative therapy. An osteopath can also provide you with a variety of stretching and strengthening exercises to perform on your own every day to ease cramping or spasms.
An osteopath also examines the whole picture when it comes to your health. That means providing you with nutritional recommendations, vitamins and supplements, and other natural and alternative methods to help address the causes of muscle cramps without just popping a painkiller when the problem arises.
Don’t let muscle cramps, spasms, and pain keep you from doing what you love. An osteopath can work with you to determine the cause of your symptoms to help you start feeling your best again.