Whether you’re the normal day to day person or you’re a competitive athlete
most of us have had a chance to experience a cramping muscle. Not a fun feeling right??? I remember before I became a Massage Therapist that when a muscle cramp started to happen, I had no idea of how to prevent let alone stop it. Normally I would let it run its course and be on my merry way after. Now having quite a bit of knowledge from my massage training I know what to do in the event of a cramping muscle that I would like to share. Cramps can be defined as involuntary muscle contractions, which are strong and short-lived. This could be a result of electrolyte, nutrition deficiencies or muscle fatigue. The idea behind stopping a cramp or even lessening it is to engage/contract the opposite muscle (reciprocal inhibition). In other words say you’re biking and your Quadriceps start to cramp up, how do you treat this?? You would get off you’re bike and engage your hamstrings. To do this you could simply kick your heal against a wall (or a tree if you’re riding any trails). What’s happening here is when you contract one muscle group (hamstrings) the Quadriceps are forced to relax. You could apply the same idea to the muscles below:
Calf (Gastrocs)Shins (Tibialis Anterior)
In some cases, for example the back, you may have to try multiple variations of movement pending upon where it is you feel it; bending forward, bending backwards, leaning side to side. Typically you contact the opposite muscle until the cramping has gone away and WALA! You can go back to your daily life.
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