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Muscle spasms

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 9:20 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Muscle spasms Reply with quote

What causes muscle spasms and is there anything to do to stop them?

Sunday my quad started spazzing esp. when lying down and kept doing it til Tuesday. It even moved around to the hamstring for awhile.
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The Bike Doc

Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1384
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 11:57 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote


Muscles spasms can be triggered by small tears in the muscles that can occur when the muscles are maximally stressed. They can also occur from inadequate stretching of the muscles. Imballances in electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium or calcium levels that are too low in the blood can trigger muscle cramps. Sodium, potassium, calcium as well as chloride ions are lost in the sweat. If they are not adequately replaced while sweating, the stage can be set for developing muscle spasms.

Once a muscle spasm sets in a feed back cycle of spasms causing more spasms can set in. To break the cycle, deep massage therapy with counter pressure, stretching and occassionally other modalities such as heat packs, ice massage or deep ultrasound may be needed.

You may benefit from an evaluation and treatment by a physical therapist. Additionally, adding routing daily stretching exercises will benefit your muscles. Bob Anderson's book "Stretching" is an excellent resource for teaching you how to properly stretch.

Taking a sport drink such as Gatorade during your workouts and races as well as taking a couple of TUMS (calcium carbonate) tablets just before the start of your workout or race can help with the electrolyte losses.

Also, build you intensity of training up gradually, increasing no more than about 10% per week will help prevent over use injury. It is important to train so that your training base will eventually mimic the level of intensity you will be racing at. It is hard to go from a latent pre-season to full on bore racing, so the importance of building a preseason base is critical in preparing your muscles for the rigors of the competition.

Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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