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Muscle Cramps

Muscle Cramps


If you have been awakened in the middle of the night with severe muscle pain in your calf, unable to move your leg you will understand how excruciating this pain can be. But what exactly are muscle cramps? A cramp occurs in a muscle when all or part of the muscle contracts strongly but then fails to relax.  The affected muscle with often feel hard and tender to touch.

What Causes Muscle Cramps?

The two most common causes of muscle cramp are:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Dehydration

Fatigue occurs when a muscle has been over stressed with activity, a simple example is painting a room.  For most of us climbing a ladder repeatedly will overload our calf muscles and we can then be awoken with cramps.  Dehydration can lead to a depletion of vital minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium vital ingredients in the chemical reactions that occur during muscle contraction.


Simple remedies are often very effective; stretching the muscle group that has been fatigued during your activity.  Back to our painting again: simple calf stretches such as those below before bed-time are effective.  This will help to lengthen those muscle fibres that have been shortening repeatedly while you were up and down the ladder during the day.  Keeping hydrated during all exercise is a must for many reasons not just prevention of muscle cramps.

If you are experiencing repeated muscle cramps that don’t respond to the above remedies then activity may be overloading a muscle incorrectly. Contact us at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic where we can assess the strength and flexibility of those pesky muscles and return you to a pattern of undisturbed sleep.

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