Of course, physical activities require a lot of movement, and anyone who has played any form of sport has experienced muscle cramps at least once. What exactly are they? This article from MedicineNet.com provides an explanation:
A muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax. When we use the muscles that can be controlled voluntarily, such as those of our arms and legs, they alternately contract and relax as we move our limbs. Muscles that support our head, neck, and trunk contract similarly in a synchronized fashion to maintain our posture. A muscle (or even a few fibers of a muscle) that involuntarily (without consciously willing it) contracts is in a “spasm.” If the spasm is forceful and sustained, it becomes a cramp. Muscle cramps often cause a visible or palpable hardening of the involved muscle.
While this painful condition can force you to retire from a match, it is fortunately not life threatening. U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group, which operates a Tacoma urgent care center, says that home care is usually enough to resolve muscle cramps. To begin with, you can apply an ice pack on the site for about 20 minutes to ease the pain (for extended spasms, though, a hot compress may also be applied to loosen the “locked” muscle).
Stretching the muscle can also help it return to its normal position. For instance, if the cramp occurs on your calf, stretch out your leg and pull your foot towards your head. Standing on the cramped leg can also be beneficial.
Of course, prevention is still better than treatment, and there are a few things you can do to avoid getting cramps. These include adequate hydration, stretching out before playing, and scheduling rest days to avoid muscle fatigue.
However, if the cramp is extremely painful, happens frequently, or doesn’t improve with self-care, visit a trusted Tacoma walk in clinic as soon as possible. The medical professionals there will examine your muscles to see if there is an underlying cause for the prolonged cramping. Be sure to follow their instructions and prescriptions properly for a speedy recovery.
(Source: Muscle Cramps, MedicineNet.com)