Why does my calf hurt so much when I stretch it after waking up?By
Ever wake up in the middle of the night and stretch your leg yet afterwards the calf will throb and ache like crazy.
Why does this happen and is the only way to prevent it from happening is to stop stretching when I wake up?
You may be bumping into what is known as the stretch reflex. It’s a set point limit that by stretching gets violated so the muscles naturally re-contract and tighten afterwards.
When people spaz out, get a muscle cramp, they “push” past the limit not knowing how to change the signal.
Listening to our body provides a way out. In this case, its counter-intuitive. When we typically stretch, which is now known to be bad for us (though most people haven’t heard of it), the muscles re-tighten on account of the stretch reflex.
So what to do.
Listen to the body and actually pay attention to the muscles being contracted… so if you think you are stretching… think again and feel what in yourself is actually contracting… you might even feel how your back contracts as you “stretch” your leg.
By paying attention to what contracts, all you have to do is release slowly and then rest, then repeat with less effort so the muscles can calm down.
Once your muscles are relaxed enough, you can tighten the beejesuz out of them and you won’t get discomfort. If you do, repeat the process using less and less effort.
Now, when you release the muscles, pay attention to how well you can… sometimes they’ll fidget and jerk… that’s ok, your brain is now in reset mode.
BTW – this is how healthy animals reset their muscles… they feel what they are contracting and then they release themselves so the brain can bathe the muscles in relaxation chemicals – no wonder why Fido’s muscles are mostly relaxed… so you see, we thought it was stretching. It isn’t.
Merely pay attention to what you are contracting and follow it with a s-l-o-w release… afterwards you can wag your tail once again.
Contracting and releasing in this specific manner is what somatics exercises are all about. When you get rudely awaken at night… you’ll know how to take care of a painful calf.
Somatics exercises are designed to release painful signals like muscle cramps and spasms so you can rest easy.