Muscle Spasms in New Jersey
Muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and myofascial trigger points may indicate a variety of conditions, ranging from clinically benign to significant. If you live in New Jersey and are experiencing frequent muscle spasms or muscle cramps, Performance Rehabilitation, in Totowa and Lafayette Township, can help.
Understanding Muscle Spasms & Muscle Cramps
When a muscle or group of muscles contracts suddenly and unexpectedly, the condition is known as a muscle cramp. Most muscle cramps are benign, causing only a mild to moderate level of discomfort that may last up to ten minutes. Pain levels vary as well, and it is common for the affected muscle to be tender after the cramping episode. Because muscle cramps are generally harmless, the condition generally does not require medical treatment. Another cause of muscle cramps is a chronic spasm of the muscle. Over time, the spasms may lead to tight knots that are known as myofascial trigger points.
Leg cramps, commonly referred to as “charley horses,” are most often caused by muscle spasms. These types of cramps most often occur in the calves on the back side of the leg just under the knee. The second most common type of leg cramp involves the small muscles of the feet. Although leg cramps can occur at any time, most people experience these types of cramps while lying down. Leg cramps at night can be so severe that the pain awakens the individual from sleep.
What Causes a Muscle Cramp?
You may be at higher risk for muscle cramps if you:
- Have imbalances of electrolytes
- Are dehydrated
- Have muscle fatigue, such as after running long distances
- Exercise without allowing the muscles to recover properly
- Take certain medications
- Are over your ideal weight
- Have poor posture
Leg cramping is often seen in people who change their exercise routines, such as introducing new exercises or increasing the intensity of a workout. The incidence of muscle cramps is higher among adolescents and adults over 65 years of age.
How Can Muscle Cramps Be Prevented?
You can follow some simple steps to reduce your chances of experiencing muscle cramps.
People who consistently remain hydrated tend to experience fewer muscle cramps than people who are dehydrated. We recommend that you drink water throughout the day and have a glass just before bedtime. You should also drink water before, during and after exercising.
Stretching warms up your muscles, and prepares them for the additional stress of exercise. You should stretch before and after exercising.
Leg cramps are often caused by sudden changes in exercise routines. We recommend that you increase your workout by no more than 10% each week.
What is the Best Way to Make Muscle Cramps go Away?
When you experience a muscle cramp, you can help alleviate the discomfort by gently massaging and stretching the affected muscle. A warm shower or bath can also help relax the muscle.
What is the best way to treat myofascial trigger points?
- Improve your posture
Poor posture leads to an imbalance within your musculoskeletal system. The postural/core or “stabilizing” muscle become underactive, and the movement muscle become overactive in an attempt to stabilize the spine. Think of sitting at length in front of your computer or while stuck in your car in traffic. Your head protracts forward, your shoulders and upper back hunch forward causing gravity to load up heavily in parts of our spine. This poor alignment does not allow the core to work, and the movement muscles activate. These muscles are not designed to do the stabilizing, and this causes them to fatigue, spasm, and become hypoxic leading to the development of trigger points in your neck and low back musculature.
- Manual therapy
Soft tissue release techniques and joint mobilization help reduce spasm and restore normal biomechanics. Nerve glides may also be included to improve how the nerve moves through the muscle and around the joint.
Muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and myofascial trigger points can be eliminated with treatment from our physical therapists at Performance Rehabilitation. Contact our office to schedule a consultation at our Totowa or Lafayette Township facility in New Jersey.