What is a muscle cramp?
Whatever you call them, you probably know what they feel like. A cramp is an involuntary contraction of a muscle; the proverbial charlie horse. They cause such severe pain you could swear you were stabbed and they usually stop your workout in its tracks. In the middle of a muscle cramp attack, take a deep breath. It’s going to hurt but the pain will pass. Once the most intense spasms have passed, stretch the affected region and get your fingers in there for an impromptu but much needed massage. Drink water and perhaps consider calling it for the day- cramps are likely to recur if you keep pushing your body past the first one.
Why do these pesky cramps happen?
A muscle cramp most likely results from a combination of factors, and they are most likely to happen during vigorous exercise:
- Not enough stretching
- Poor blood circulation
- Muscle fatigue
Take heart, because these factors are preventable! With enough attention to detail you can mitigate the effects of muscle cramps and hopefully put a stop to them entirely.
Preventing muscle cramps
- Make sure you warm-up fully; never cut corners on your warm-up to get to the workout. And you are not exempt from muscle cramps after the exercise is over. Doing some light static stretching after the exercise will prevent cramps that can occur up to six hours after your exercise.
- Drink water, preferably an electrolyte-rich variety.
- Keep potassium levels high by eating a banana
If your workout is constantly derailed by muscle cramps, it could be time to adjust your behavior outside of the exercise to account for them. At Scorca Chiropractic Center, we believe in exercise as a cornerstone of wellness- that being said, we will do everything in our power to keep you active! If you are suffering from long-standing pain in your muscles or dysfunction in your back, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C.