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Muscle Cramps

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are described as an involuntary contraction of muscle fibres that causes pain and occasional disfigurement, they also occur in most areas in the body such as calf, hamstring, quadricep and feet.  Cramp often occurs during or after exercise and these are known as Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps (EAMC), the other type of known cramp is Nocturnal cramps which occur at mainly at night-time resulting in sleep disturbance or functional disability.

What causes cramp?

The causes of EAMC and nocturnal cramps are unknown and differ in symptoms. The exact cause of a cramp is not fully understood but research has suggested the following reasons:

Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps: 

  • Overuse and fatigue of muscle
  • Dehydration
  • Extensive sweating resulting in low potassium (salt) levels
  • Inadequate recovery time from pervious cramp
  • Pregnancy

Nocturnal Cramps:

  • Dehydration: insufficient fluid intake throughout the day or alcohol consumption at night
  • Electrolyte imbalances (low magnesium, calcium, potassium)
  • Poor blood circulation

Other causes of cramp include:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Peripheral Vascular disease
  • Some Medication

What are the Symptoms of Cramp?

  • Temporary severe discomfort
  • Can be associated with leg swellings, redness or skin changes
  • Can be associated with muscle weakness
  • Functional disability
  • Temporary muscular disfigurement

How can we help?

The first step in treatment cramp is to determine the root cause of them, this could include:

  • Muscle tightness
  • Over- exercising
  • Diet
  • Low fluid intake
  • A cause that may need further investigation

Depending on the outcome of diagnosis treatment may include:

  • Ice Therapy
  • Lengthening of Hypertonic muscles
  • Massage Therapy
  • Increasing joint range of motion
  • Strengthening weak muscles
  • Life style modification
  • Exercise programmes

What are the Benefits of Sports Therapy Treatment? 

At Complete Chiropractic our team of therapist will work with you closely to improve your condition. For those who suffer with EAMC will seek the benefit of massage therapy as this will encourage muscles to relax and reduce the toxin build up within the muscle after physical activity.  For Nocturnal suffers the Therapist would provide dietitian and lifestyle advice if required along with exercises and stretches depending on diagnosis. Other treatment benefits include:

  • Pain and inflammation reduction
  • Frequency of cramps
  • Improvement in range of movement
  • Improvement in muscle strength
  • Accelerated recovery time