The ball has gone up”, “it has jerked me”, “my muscle has been mounted”. Who has not happened to him? When saying this phrase, most people put their hand to the calf area and do not know what to do until it passes by itself.
Its name is muscle cramp and, although it usually occurs in “the ball” (in the calves), it can occur in any muscle in the body. What is happening to the muscle is that it is involuntarily contracting, producing intense pain.
Why does the ball go up? What are the reasons why the muscles are mounted?
Cramps happen for several reasons:
- Dehydration or loss of electrolytes. Not drinking enough water, having vomiting or diarrhea can cause hydroelectrolytic alterations that produce that sudden contraction of the muscle.
- Carrying out an activity that is too intense or not performing the necessary warm-up or stretching results in muscle fatigue or insufficient training.
- Certain medications or drugs.
- Sometimes it can be a symptom of some neurological diseases or be a consequence of the compression of a nerve root.
How can I avoid muscle cramps?
In order for muscle cramps not to occur, there must be a balance of salts and electrolytes and there must be energy reserves in the muscle (glycogen). What is recommended is:
- A diet with a good vitamin content.
- Adequate hydration.
- Intake of isotonic drinks, if you are prone to this discomfort.
- Warm-ups prior to any activity that we are going to carry out (be it sport or work).
- Stretch after the activities we do, especially in those muscles that we have used to a greater extent.
- Take care of the posture and gestures that we carry out in the activity, to avoid a possible injury.
My ball has gone up, what do I do?
When faced with a muscle cramp, the first thing we should do is stop the activity and perform passive stretching of the area. In the specific case of the twin, we must stretch the leg and make the gesture of bringing the toes closer to the shin, maintaining the position for a few seconds, until it relaxes. Normally this measure will suffice, however, the application of a light massage in the area is recommended.
There are 3 keys to prevent cramps
Stretching and flexibility exercises, unloading exercises and strengthening exercises.
Stretching and flexibility exercises
It is important to stretch after physical exercise, in order to prevent injuries. Deep stretches should not be done just before physical exercise as they can increase the chances of injury.
Not only the muscular component is stretched, but also the neurodynamic one, since the peripheral nervous system is always involved in muscular problems. Below I am going to share a series of exercises that I have selected from this portal and that seem indicated to me to prevent tension problems in this muscle group:
Stretching of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles
I recommend that you do these stretches to improve flexibility in your calves:
How to properly stretch the hamstrings?
With this exercise you will make the posterior muscles of the leg more flexible:
Flexibility of the sciatic nerve with a strap. neurodynamic exercise
Through a neurodynamic exercise you can make the sciatic nerve more flexible with the help of a strap:
It is important to prevent this type of problem to have muscles that work correctly. For this, I advise you to include in the training (it must be done separately from the stretching routine) an eccentric work of the muscles. Eccentric potentiation will improve the capacity and performance of the myotendinous unit and will more efficiently organize the muscle and tendon fibers that are in constant repair.
It is also convenient, in people who usually suffer from cramps and tension in the twins, to take hot baths adding coarse salt or soothing bath salts (horse chestnut or lavender). Proper warm-up, stretching after activity, and massage can help.
As a last resort, your doctor may direct you to take a quinine tablet at bedtime. If taken, you have a good chance of reducing the number and/or severity of leg cramps, however, as a serious side effect a small number of people have developed cinchonism (nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbance and hearing impairment). ). Therefore, quinine is only used as a last resort when other treatments have not worked and leg cramps are frequent and are affecting your quality of life.