Muscle Spasm & Cramps

What is Muscle Soreness?

We all know what it feels it when we have overexerted our bodies – the result comes in the form of sore, stiff and tired muscles. If you have begun a new exercise routine, lifted a heavy box or gone for a long walk, it is only natural that you will experience muscle soreness. Muscle soreness frequently occurs when you have engaged in an unusual level of physical activity and your muscles are not use to the strain.

What Causes Muscle Soreness?

When you push yourself physically, fibers in the muscles tear and as a result the body’s defense mechanism sends fluid into these areas – causing swelling The swelling triggers the pain, stiffness and soreness you feel. The body, however, repairs the injured muscle and it grows back stronger.

What are Muscle Spasms?

Perhaps you’ve been sitting in front of your computer the whole day and suddenly you feel an unbearable tightness in your back when you get up. This tightness occurs when a muscle becomes rigid, contracts involuntarily and goes into spasm. The fibers within the muscle contract and tighten, thereby stopping the blood flow. Immediately discomfort and anguishing pain is experienced. When a muscle goes into spasm, the muscle cannot relax on its own or release with movement. Muscle spasms usually affect the neck, shoulder, back or legs, knees or abdominal muscles and often these areas are locked in spasm.

There are many factors that contribute to the muscle spasm. Often a muscle spasm is the result of strenuous activity when the muscles are overused or injured, particularly in the case of athletes. It can also occur when you move too quickly, sleep in a cramped position, bunch your shoulders sitting at a desk or overstretch your back muscles when something is not within your reach. Muscle spasms can also occur at night and are commonly due to prolonged sitting during the day or low levels of certain minerals in the body.

Spasmodic reactions can be brought on because of painful posture, poor nutrition and exposure to chemicals. Exposure to cold weather such as a draft on your neck can also cause a severe spasm and pain resulting in the inability to move or bend the neck at all.

Diagnosing Muscle Cramps

The common signs and symptoms of a muscle cramp include:
  • Muscle pain
  • Loss of muscle function
  • Abnormal muscle rigidity
  • Loss of muscle contraction control
  • Pain in the affected area

What Causes Muscle Cramps?

Muscle cramps can occur as a result of:
  • Overexertion
  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance (not enough fluid in the body and lack of sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium)
  • Numerous medications
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Inactivity and poor circulation

Diagnosing Muscle Spasms

The common signs and symptoms include:
  • Loss of function
  • Abnormal muscle rigidity
  • Difficulty in moving, turning or bending the neck, shoulder or back
  • Pain in the affected area

Foods to Help Stop Muscle Spasms

People suffering from muscle spasms may have a potassium deficiency. Individuals that play sports are particularly susceptible to low levels of potassium and should include foods such as bananas, potatoes, prune juice and dried fruit into their diets. Also, including calcium fortified foods like seafood and fish, almonds, flaxseed, oats, parsley, prunes, sesame seeds, tofu and kale, can help to stave off muscle spasm. Avoid foods acidic foods and drinks like tomatoes and vinegar which blocks the body’s natural ability to absorb calcium.

Preventing Muscle Spasms

Follow these useful tips to help you avoid developing muscle spasm:
  • Keep your muscles loose and flexible by practicing stretching exercises.
  • Slow down by pacing your activities and resting during the day.
  • Keep your muscles warm when spasm triggers occur. Options include taking a hot bath or shower and dressing warmly when the weather becomes colder.
  • Place a heat or ice pack on the affected area to relax the muscle spasm.
  • Improve your posture by learning to balance your body (from front to back and side to side, while sitting, standing and walking) so that the muscles do not have to fight gravity to keep you upright.
  • Drink enough fluids so that you can avoid muscle spasm and cramping during exercise.
  • Lessen your intake of acidic foods such as tomatoes and vinegar.
  • Eat foods containing potassium such as bananas, potatoes, soya flour, bran and apricots..
  • Chamomile tea also helps to reduce muscle spasm.
  • Reduce tension and stress by practicing relaxation techniques
  • Increase your intake of mineral and electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Displaying products 1 - 17 of 17 results
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