Ouch! We all recognise that feeling when we are happily asleep or relaxing and all of a sudden you get rudely woken up by muscle spasms or cramp in your leg or foot!
The muscles have gone rock hard and are so tense you can’t relax them and all you can manage is to remember to breathe and try not to swear. It must be one of the worst ways to wake up, right? Though short lived, these horrible cramps feel like they come out of nowhere – but do they?
Muscle cramp is simply an involuntary tightening of the muscle. The leg and foot are the most common body parts for this but it can often occur in the arms, hands, stomach, back and even rib cage!
An often mentioned remedy to stop muscle cramps is to eat bananas as muscle spasms can be caused by a lack of potassium which bananas contain.
Another common trigger for cramps could be dehydration – your muscles need a good balance of electrolytes, sodium and potassium and if they are dehydrated they simply cannot achieve this, overuse of muscles, lack of stretching, poor blood circulation or even a calcium or magnesium deficiency.
The biggest tip to prevent them I can give is to make sure you practice pre and post activity stretching, not just for sports or athletic moments but for your other physical activities during the day like gardening, heavy lifting, mowing the lawn etc.
Your muscles respond and work at their best when they are primed and prepared for the task at hand reducing the likelihood of them seizing up at the time and later on in the day.
If you have already been experiencing muscle spasms and cramps before visiting your massage therapist let them know and communicate during the session so that they can bring some effective relief to the affected area for you.
Massage is also a great preventative and healing tool for cramps as it lengthens and breaks up knotted up fibers that have formed.
Hope that helps!