Although there are several theories about what causes cramps, they generally result from overexertion, dehydration or over tight muscles. Low blood sugar levels and extreme cold and heat can also cause cramping.
When you are dehydrated, there can be an electrolyte imbalance in the muscle cells that causes your muscles to spasm. Electrolytes help the body’s cells to function properly. The main electrolytes affecting muscle cramping are potassium, sodium and calcium.
Cramps may also occur after inactivity, such as sitting too long in one place without moving a muscle, or even when you’re just lying in bed. These cramps are not related to activity, but can be treated the same way.
Treatment for Muscle Cramps
Physiotherapy treatment for patients with this condition is vital to hasten the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and decrease the likelihood of injury recurrence. Treatment may comprise:
- Exercise programs to stretch, self treat and improve proprioception, balance and strength
- Biomechanical assessment
- Education / training advise/ phased return to exercise
- Activity modification advice
- Joint mobilisation
- Deep tissue massage/myofascial release
- Dry needling /acupuncture
- Nutritional advice
- Orthotic/insole advice
- Ice or heat treatment