What is a muscle cramp?
Normal movement of our bodies involves muscles alternating between contract and relaxation. A muscle that contracts involuntarily and is unable to relax is a spasm; and a forceful and prolonged spasm becomes a cramp.
A muscle cramp can last anywhere from a few seconds to up to 15 minutes or occasionally longer. Any muscle can develop a cramp, but the most common site for muscle cramps are the legs, particularly the front of the thighs (quadriceps), back of the thighs (hamstrings) and calf muscles (gastrocnemius & soleus).
Unfortunately almost everyone, one estimate is 95% of the population will experience a muscle cramp at some time in their life. Muscle cramps are one of those things that also increases as we get older. Those of you that have already had a muscle cramp will undoubtedly remember the unrelenting pain!
Tip: Most muscle cramps can be stopped if the muscle can be stretched.
Muscle spasms & cramps are one of the most common complaints that massage therapists deal with.