Muscles cramps need no explanation. Once in a while, almost every get muscle cramps. Occasional muscles cramps may not be a significant health problem for a common man but for an athlete it’s a serious concern. Sprinters and soccer players may throw themselves off to the ground, cyclists can fall off their bicycles to dangerous terrains, and swimmers may suffer drowning. It happens within a split of a second leaving you no space to respond to it with a powerful contraction. Cramps commonly affect the calf muscles, triceps, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps muscles.
Why Muscle Cramps Occur?
Muscle cramps occur when muscle fibers decide to contract and relax out of sync with brain signals. Muscle cramps can last as short as one minute to as long as three or four days. Rigorous repeated muscle actions sometimes provoke the muscle to behave involuntarily and result in muscle cramps. This condition is known as exercise-related muscle cramping. The exact causes of muscles cramps are still occult; however, lack of appropriate oxygenation to the muscles, dehydration, heat or cold, lack of electrolytes in the body, etc. are some of the commonly speculated reasons.
Prior record of exercise-related muscle cramps, carrying out exercise for higher duration than normal or performing exercises at higher intensity than normal, and hot and humid environmental settings are the usual causes why sprinters and soccer players get muscle cramps.
Can we detect development of muscle cramps?
Often times muscle cramps come at a surprise. They are incredibly painful too. It will make you stop what you are doing and will immobilize you to a point where you will not be able to move the affected part.
How are Muscle Cramps Diagnosed?
We know when we get a muscle cramps and it needs no special medical evaluation for diagnosis. However, sometimes these cramps can be regular and lengthy with unbearable pain. This may not always be due to over activity during sports but could be related to certain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or tetanus. Incidentally, an investigation into the health background of the patient would always be beneficial. Had you been previously affected with any disease that lead to dehydration in your body could be the reason you are getting muscle cramps. Our physio might also be interested in the type, style, and intensity of your exercise regimen.
How are Muscle Cramps Managed With Physiotherapy?
If you are getting muscle cramps for the first time and it is due to your exercise pattern, you may not need any significant physiotherapy. A watchful mind over your exercise regimen so that you do not end up overdoing it would be enough to prevent future recurrence of muscle cramps. It is also important that you remain hydrated appropriately with appropriate electrolyte level in the body. Stretching the affected would be muscles would help you to release tension on it. Using ice to relieve pain and release the tension on the muscle is also a good idea. On contrast, some people find it beneficial to use heat to release tension and pain. Ideally, a little bit of stretching supplement with some icing or heat and rest would bring you back to the next exercise session with full functionality.
If you start to experience multiple cramps over a period of time, it’s high time that you start monitoring your nutrition. May be you are missing out appropriate hydration or electrolytes in your diet. If you had been taking some medications recently, your cramps could be side effect of it. Be sure to disclose your latest medical history to your physio so that he can make appropriate judgments for you.
It’s also important that you begin with some warm-up exercises you start your daily work outs. Sometimes it’s just that your muscles do not like the intensity in which you are giving them workouts. Your physio would be able to design appropriate stretching and warm-up exercises in this case. It’s equally important that you do the stretching correctly. You should do the warm-up first and then the stretching. Stretching should be done daily. Call us at (08) 9272 7359 and a short consultation with our physio would help you bring back your muscle cramped athletic career back on track.