You may find this interesting to know that you have over 600 muscles in your body. From a functional perspective, these muscles control everything you do, from breathing to putting food in your mouth to swallowing.
Medically, a cramp is a spontaneous surge of electrical activity over a large number of skeletal muscle fibers, which quickly develops into a painful, sustained contraction (muscle spasm).
This article will help you understand:
- what causes muscle cramps are in details
- how the problem develops
- what the different physiotherapy treatments
What parts of the body are involved?
The muscles consist of many fibers that are bundled together to form a structure. You have the bigger, more frequently used muscles that have more fibers, and then the smaller, lesser-used ones. From the functional aspect, some muscles are voluntary, and some are involuntary muscles.
Voluntary muscles are the one group that we move by choice (for example, the muscles in your arms and legs).
These muscles are connected to bones by tendons. Involuntary muscles, or smooth muscles, are the ones that move on their own (for example, the muscles that control your diaphragm, heart).
When it comes to muscle spasm treatment, the most commonly affected muscles are the calf muscles (gastrocnemius), the muscles in your upper arms (triceps), the muscles behind your thighs (the hamstrings ), and the muscles in front of your thighs (the quadriceps).
What causes muscle cramps?
Typically, there are two kinds of cramps— Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps (EAMC) and the Nocturnal Cramps. EAMC occurs during/post-exercise, and nocturnal cramps occur at nighttime sleep.
Potential causes of EAMC and nocturnal are:
- Overuse of the muscles that reduces fiber lengthening between contractions.
- Change in neuromuscular control.
- When recovery time is less than expected
- Electrolyte loss through sweating during exercise.
Apart from that, some of the medical conditions could be responsible for muscles cramps all over the body :
- Peripheral vascular disease.
- Uremia – raised levels of urea and other nitrogenous waste in the blood.
- Thyroid dysfunction.
- Alpha motor neuron disorders.
How do you know it’s a muscle cramp?
As you may already know, muscle cramps are painful. However, you know you need rehabilitation physiotherapy when the symptoms of muscle cramps show up quickly and intensely. They can be so strong that you may have to stop what you’re doing. As it turns out, the occurrence of muscle soreness makes you quit daily activities.
However, the most obvious sign is the sudden, acute pain in the affected muscle or muscles.
If it’s a large muscle that is involved, like the one in the calf of your leg, you may be able to feel a knot like a thing, or a hard lump in the muscle, just under the skin.
The situation often happens when you are just getting started with your exercise therapy, and you are obese to start rehabilitation physiotherapy then.
How does rehabilitation physiotherapy help relieve the pain from muscle cramps?
Generally speaking, people understand that they are experiencing a muscle cramp, so they don’t seek immediate medical help to find out what is that and what caused that. However, sometimes muscle cramps are more critical when they are frequent, lengthy, and painful. If an illness is a cause, rather than overexertion, it’s crucial to find out the driving force. The hypothesis helps apply different physiotherapy treatments.
At PhysioExperts, we work closely with our dietitians, and we would often refer our clients to them if we believe the cause of your cramps is a diet/lifestyle origin.
It is always helpful to seek the advice of an expert regarding repeated episodes of cramps. During rehabilitation physiotherapy, they may organize further assessment, treatment plans, blood tests.
If you are experiencing muscle cramps due to illness, or due to any other reason, our physiotherapy and rehabilitation centre is here to help you get rid of that. You may request an appointment with us to know more.