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Muscle cramping is a common yet painful and involuntary contraction of a skeletal muscle, which can occur without warning or apparent cause (Bergeron, 2008). Basically, when there is any disruption at any level within the central or peripheral nervous systems, the muscle fibres (known as the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organ proprioceptors) are affected, which consequently influence the length and tone of the muscle. This can cause, what we know as a ‘muscle cramp’.
A muscle cramp can be classified as either skeletal muscle overload and fatigue (also known as the neuromuscular mechanism), or exertional heat cramps (also known as the dehydration or electrolyte depletion mechanism) (Giuriato et al. 2018). Depending on which kind, they are managed quite differently.
If you experience a skeletal muscle cramp, for example a calf cramp during exercise, it is vital that you lower the intensity of what you’re doing. Passive stretching or massage of the affected area can assist with easing these symptoms, as can applying ice (if severe).
Long-term prevention for both kinds may be aided by increasing dietary sources of the following (Health Central, 2020);
If you have any further questions, please reach out to your CSSM practitioner for ways we can assist you.
About the author:
Caroline Sanguinetti is a Senior Osteopath who enjoys focusing on finding the root cause of someone’s pain rather than just treating the symptomatic area. Caroline particularly enjoys treating headaches and neck pain utilising a wide range of techniques such as soft tissue massage, joint articulation and joint manipulation. Caroline also appreciates the influence of other lifestyle and environmental factors that can contribute to pain or discomfort. She utilises a team approach working alongside her patients to establish short and long-term goals both in and out of the treatment room.
Bergeron, M 2008. Muscle Cramps during Exercise � is it fatigue or electrolyte deficit?
Giuriat, G et al 2018. Muscle cramps: A comparison of the two-leading hypothesis.
Health Central, 2020. What food and drinks can help to prevent crampon game day? Retrieved from:
What food and drinks can help to prevent cramp on game day? | Health Central
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