A muscle cramp is an involuntary and forceful contraction of the muscle tissue and can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. It is most commonly triggered by hyperactive response in the nerves serving the muscle tissue. A muscle cramp can affect one single muscle, a portion of a muscle, or several muscles that work synergystically. Muscle cramps can cause a great deal of discomfort and often will not cease until the muscle is stretched.
Common causes of muscle cramps include: extreme muscle fatigue, dehydration, poor circulation, diuretics and other medications, and vitamin deficiencies. Muscle cramps can occur anywhere in the body, but are most commonly associated with the lower extremities, particularly the calf muscles.
You can proactively attempt to prevent muscle cramps by properly taking care of and providing for the body. Vitamin supplementation, proper hydration, rest, and stretching will aid in this process. Trigger Point Performance Therapy can help to offer an adequate warm-up and cool-down method that will help keep the muscle tissue free of adhesions and scar tissue that often trigger muscle cramps. In turn, it will help to keep the muscle tissue lengthened, or stretched, and can reduce the possibility for cramping to occur.
If you are having problems with cramping in the the calf muscles, for example, you will want to make sure that you are providing specific attention to this area.
The gastrocnemius, the calf muscle where cramps commonly occur, should be addressed with the TP Massage Ball. To perform this manipulation, you will want to sit on the ground with the body in an upright position. With the Baller Block in front of you place the TP Ball in the middle of the block. You will want to spend approximately 60-90 seconds on this manipulation.
- Relax gastrocnemius muscle and rest it on the TP Ball
- Apply pressure, as tolerated, to the calf muscle
- Additional pressure can be added through the hands or by placing the opposing leg on top
- Take slow, deep breaths, allowing the ball to penetrate the muscle
- Rotate the foot in a circle 4 times while maintaining pressure
You will want to make sure you get up and walk around to promote circulation before moving to another region of the body. You can also address lower-leg issues through a double ball massage as discussed here.