Massage Archives

Tired of Muscle Cramps?


Are you tired of muscle cramps? 

According to The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 2006,  

“Spasms can be defined as electromyographic (EMG) activity as the result of increased neuromuscular tone of the entire muscle, and they are the result of nerve-initiated contractions.”

In short, a spasm is a muscle contraction or cramp. Typically the spasm will encompass the entire muscle fiber rather than just a bundle of cells.

The onset of a spasm is usually sudden and will often cause lack of control within that area and even a double-over effect. Spasms may last only moments but could cause disability for days. 


The journal also explains Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrP),

“a hyperirritable spot in skeletal muscle that is associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band”

This means it does not effect the entire muscle fiber, rather a bundle of muscle cells–the microscopic little things (myofibrils) that make up a muscle tissue. muscle-fiberTrigger points may be painful, however, they rarely debilitate unless untreated for an extended period. These are often not detectable except by a trained professional and frequently the site of the trigger point is not where the pain is located.  Trigger points typically refer pain to a distant site within the body and a manual therapist who has been specifically educated in this area will know where to look based on the location of the specific pain.

People often make the mistake of ‘walking it off’ or ‘working through’ when it comes to pain. Pain left untreated will continue in the cycle as shown here. This happens at such a slow rate that the person does not realize, and sometimes believes the pain is ‘moving around’.


Clients often call me looking for quick answers to these situations. Depending on the muscle involved, I may be able to give home remedies, if not, a manual therapy session, possibly multiple, is typically indicated.

During assessments, I often hear statements such as ‘it started here but stopped and now is over here’. One of the wonderful things about how our bodies are created is that they will continue to send warnings until it is no longer able. This point with muscle pain is called atrophy. Atrophy is the wasting away of tissue and is often irreparable. We’ll get more into atrophy in another blog.

For now, if you are experiencing pain, do yourself a favor and don’t ‘walk it off’. ‘No Pain, No Gain’ is a myth, but if you’re in the NFL or WWF I won’t fight you on it. Contact us, or another manual therapist you trust and get answers.

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