Muscle Spasms… What are they and why do they occur?

It has happened or will happen to all of us at some point in our life. We are running, walking or just sitting and then all of a sudden … BAM…. it hits us without warning, causing extreme pain. A muscle in your leg will become hard as a rock, tightening and contracting. You lie there wondering, What is going on? How did this happen? What can I do to NEVER experience this again?’

Spasms are the involuntary contraction of muscle fibers that can lead to a full on cramp. It can occur anywhere you have muscle fibers, including the foot, calf, thigh, hands, arms, abs and neck. Literality, any muscle is susceptible to go into spasms and eventually cramp.  For immediate relief, sometimes all it takes is a good stretch, extending and massaging the cramping muscle.  However, with any health issue or physical ailment, it is always important to look at the root cause and treat the underlying issue to prevent the cramps from reoccurring.

So, why does this happen and how do you stop them from occurring?

Muscles are made up of millions of muscle fibers that are connected together to form skeletal muscle (ie; biceps, triceps quads). Due to issues, such as poor blood circulation, malnourishment of the muscle, or overexertion, the fibers will begin to spasms, eventually leading to a cramp. For the athletes out there, do those muscles a favor and feed them with the appropriate nutrients and stretch them properly before any athletic event, no matter how insignificant the event may be.

Dehydration along with deficiencies in magnesium and/ or potassium can often lead to muscle cramps. Pregnant women can also suffer due to a lack of vitamin C. Obviously the most efficient way to hydrate your muscles is to drink plenty of water.  I always recommend to my patients that they buy a 30-32oz container and try to at least drink 3 or 4 of those a day.  The more active you are the more you will need to drink. Talk to your health care provider to see what is an appropriate amount. Everyone knows that potassium and magnesium can be easily found in bananas, but you can also find high amounts in dried apricots, baked acorn squash, avocados, good wild salmon just to name a few.

Malfunctioning nerves are probably the most concerning to people that get spasms and cramps because they have tried everything they know to fix the problem with little to no relief. This problem can come from misalignment of the spine, poor biomechanics of the spine or improper function of the joint. You hear the term pinched nerve a lot and you will hear Chiropractors use the term Subluxation. Essentially they mean that the bones forming the joint are not aligned properly, not moving properly, or not functioning as they should; therefore, leading to the malfunctioning nerve that can cause the spasm that leads to the cramp that leads to the pain. Are you following the cycle?

To Recap.

A few reasons that spams and cramps occur

  • Poor blood circulation,

  • Muscle malnourishment

  • Overexertion

  • Dehydration

  • Deficiencies in magnesium, potassium and possibly calcium

What are some things you can do to decrease or eliminate them?

  • Feed your muscles with appropriate nutrients

  • Stretch before and after any athletic event….. Yes even golf.

  • Drink plenty of water; at least 3-4 32oz containers.

  • Incorporating foods that are high in potassium and magnesium such as;

    • Bananas

    • Dried apricots

    • Acorn squash

    • Avocados

    • Wild salmon

  • Visiting your Chiropractor- Last on the list but certainly not least and porobly most important.

Allowing your Chiropractor to check your spine for proper alignment and joint function is essential to eliminating pain from cramps and muscle spasms Giving the nervous system the ability to function properly and provide the body a way to heal its self is a direct effect of receiving adjustments from your chiropractor.

The key to any ailment is getting to the root cause of the problem and not just covering the symptoms.