Spasm & Cramp
What is Muscle Spasm and Muscle Cramp?
A muscle spasm is simply a shorter version of a muscle cramp. This means that it may last just a few seconds, through to a few minutes. It will often feel like a ‘spike’ or ‘jolt’ in pain, accompanied by an obvious feeling of tightening in the muscle.
A muscle cramp is a sudden, forceful and involuntary contraction of muscle. It’s usually common in the lower leg and can often affect people at night time. A sustained cramp can affect someone anywhere in the body, including the lower back, neck or shoulder.
Causes of Cramp & Muscle Spasms
Chemical or Neurological Causes
It’s important to note that recurrent or unexplained cramps can be caused by chemical imbalance or a neurological condition. Often these cramps are in the night time and mostly affect the lower leg. Your practitioner will often discuss with you in your first visit some lifestyle factors such as hydration and exercise. Remember that tea, coffee and alcohol tend towards dehydrating you. Certain medications can also have cramping or spasming listed as one of their side effects. If there is a suspicion that any of these factors are causing your condition, then referral back to your GP may be advisable.
The second major cause of cramp and spasm is perceived threat to that area of the body. When your body has a site of damage, it will work to protect the area. This can be poor posture, all the way through to a severe fall. Muscles cramping or spasming is a completely normal reaction to this threat. It is not always a bad thing. You could need this protection (for example if you have sprained a joint). Quite a lot of the time though, the spasm or cramping is undesired because it is an overreaction. This is especially true if the spasm comes ‘out of the blue’, as it so often does.
Treatment at Relief for Cramp or Muscle Spasm
In the acutely painful stages, you may need medication to see you through the more severe spasms or cramps. Painkillers or muscle relaxants are sometimes essential to allow your body to stop overreacting. If the spasm is as a result of a fall or trauma we may well advise you to have an X-Ray as well. There is always a reason for them happening.
At Relief, we work together to focus in on the primary problem causing the cramp or spasm. By doing this, through chiropractic, massage and acupuncture we can allow your body to heal naturally, without having to become so reliant on the use of medication, surgery or other invasive interventions.
Prognosis of a Cramp or Muscle Spasm
As you can imagine, the prognosis for a muscle cramp or spasm completely depends on the cause. A cramp caused by a lack of hydration will mean that proper exercise and lifestyle changes should clear it up within a few weeks, perhaps with acupuncture or massage as appropriate to manage the muscle health.
However, regular muscle spasms caused by a chronic dysfunction of the lower spine might suggest a course of chiropractic adjustment over a period of 1-2 months, depending on the case.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Chiropractic care is proven to be effective for muscle spasm and cramp, and other treatments at Relief may also be beneficial. We would tend to suggest that muscle cramps and spasm aren’t “normal” and therefore it would be worth seeking a professional’s opinion.
Still unsure about a visit to a Cambridge Chiropractor?
If you live near Cambridge and have pain or other symptoms, or if you want to improve the function of your body, chiropractic is a safe and very effective solution. If you are unsure whether chiropractic care is right for you, then you should consider booking either a first visit or a FREE spine check. During this time, the process of chiropractic care will be explained fully. There is no obligation to continue with the visits.