Spasm is defined as a sudden and involuntary contraction of the muscle. It usually occurs during sports activity (cramps) or when we make movements that are out of our normal pattern of movements. It usually causes a sudden pain but reduces quickly thereafter.
Why does muscle spasm? (Causes of muscle spasm)
Muscle spasm usually occurs due to your body’s response to
– Overuse: Your muscles use energy and nutrients to function, when it is used for a long period of time without rest it causes muscle cells to fatigue. The lack of constant nutrient and energy supply causes muscle tissue break down to happen faster than the repair. Thus, causing it to not function as efficiently which may lead to spasms.
– Injury: When your body has injury such as joint subluxation, your muscles may spasm in order to ‘guard’ (protect) your body from further injury by stabilising the region of injury.
– Dehydration: Our body and muscles are largely made up of water molecules. When your body is put under extreme conditions, such as hot weather, dehydration may occur. This causes the necessary nutrient flow that the muscle cells need to function properly to be not as efficient, thus leading to the muscle spasm.
– Electrolyte abnormalities: Changes in electrolyte balance of sodium, potassium and calcium will alter the environment in which would be optimum for muscular function, leading to muscle spasm. Lack or excess of these electrolytes changes the electrical impulses (messages) sent from your nerves to your muscles, which causes it to contract involuntarily.
What can I do to reduce muscle spasm?
Good environment: Make sure that the environment that you are in is appropriate for the exercises or activities that you want to carry out. For example, avoid being under direct sunlight for long periods of time when exercising.
Stay hydrated: Get enough water intake, that allows your body to properly have good nutrient flow and optimum electrolyte balance. If there is increase in environment temperature or intensity of activity, make sure to also increase your water intake appropriately.
Dynamic stretches: Before you do any sports activity, make sure to prepare your body by doing stretches of the movement patterns you will be using to perform your exercise. This will reduce chances of injury.
Rest and take breaks: Listen to your body and when it needs time to recuperate, make sure you do not neglect it and give it a good amount of time to recover before continuing your activity. This may also mean having rest days in between your workout days.