By Jennifer Ofstein
DHAC Massage Therapist
Whether you’re the normal day to day person or you’re a competitive athlete most of us have had a chance to experience a cramping muscle. Not a fun feeling right???
Before I became a Massage Therapist, when a muscle cramp started, I had no idea how to prevent it, let alone stop it. So, I would let it run its course and be on my merry way after. But, there are better options.
Cramps can be defined as involuntary muscle contractions, which are strong and short-lived. This could be a result of electrolyte, nutrition deficiencies or muscle fatigue. The idea behind stopping a cramp or just reducing it is to engage and/or contract the opposite muscle (reciprocal inhibition).
In other words say you’re biking and your Quadriceps start to cramp up, how do you treat this?? Get off your bike and engage your hamstrings. To do this you could simply kick your heal against a wall (or a tree if you’re riding any trails). When you contract one muscle group (hamstrings) the quadriceps are forced to relax.
You could apply the same idea to the muscles below:
In some cases, you may have to try multiple variations of movement depending upon where the cramp is. A good example is when the back cramps. Try bending forward, bending backwards, leaning side to side.
Keep contacting the opposite muscle until the cramping has gone away. Viola! You can go back to your daily life.
Do you have any good tips for cramps? Share them below!