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Archive for Cramps

Aug
30

Muscle Spasms

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Ever bump into that unkindly way our body responds when a muscle spasms?

Those muscle spasms can feel hard as a rock and at times painful and annoying when it just stops us in our tracks or leaves us writhing on the floor trying to get to a phone to call someone to help us.

When muscle spasms happen we generally react by pulling away and trying to lengthen the offending signal of the stiff, cramping muscle.

Muscle Spasms at night

Have you ever woken up at night with a painful leg cramp or muscle spasms which get your immediate attention?

Whadya do? Stand on it, eat a banana, use heat, use ice, or take some muscle relaxants. People have even had the pleasure of drinking pickle juice when dealing with muscle spasms.

We have all sorts of remedies yet we are most likely dealing with a brain signal that is easily changed once we know how to easily un-lock the code and reorganize the muscles.

Quiet down the zoo of muscle spasms

What’s a charley horse? Who is your animal?

While the term usually is used for a cramp, muscle spasms happening in the leg have fun names from other cultures.

In Norway, it’s called a thigh hen and in Germany it’s a horse’s kiss. While in southern Italy, a donkey bite and in Guam, a rat of all things.

Makes you wonder what to call a butt cramp, a charlie donkey or just a pain in the a!*?

In other countries, it’s called ice leg, paralyzer, wooden leg, hard one, crutch and wouldn’t you know… cramp in the leg.

When we’ve experienced this varied and colorful sensation, we can feel the alarm bell go off and our muscles seem to be held in the “on” position.

Sometimes the signal can last for a moment, hours or beat intermittently for some time.

In many cases, our muscles have appropriately reacted with was is known as the stretch reflex.

When we pull our hands away from a hot stove, it’s a good thing to have a quick reaction which saves us from a burn.

On the other hand, the switch can be set “on” from a previously contracted muscle which most likely was already being contracted at a rate higher than the resting or neutral rate it can lie in to be used.

Many of us live with high tension levels or compensations of an elevated hip, over arched spine, or the countless others ways we can hold ourself together more than necessary. Our muscles will keep on going to a certain point.

When they are exhausted from our activity or stress thresholds and we push pass the tipping point, we can set off any number of muscle spasms.

When we push on a contracted muscle, the good news is that the stretch reflex reflexively pulls away. You ain’t gotta do a thing about it. The reflex happens.

Your spinal cord will pull the hand away from the hot stove just as you jerk in reaction to being hit with a hammer from the doctor.

When we get a muscle spasm at night from turning over, we’ve bumped into a reflex which comes “on” even though we were in our off mode.

Interesting how a movement, such as when someone merely bends over and reaches, yet throws their back into a full blown grabbing set of muscle spasms.

Or how about someone doing some exercise like abdominal crunches and “poof” there goes the belly into yet another specific train of muscle spasms.

Lock jaw, groin pulls, and runners who pull their hamstring muscles… ‘course some people do that merely from walking a little too fast too… are again signals generated from the spinal cord to protect us.

But what if we over-ride and self-correct the offending signal with our brain’s capacity to change how much muscles can actually output.

To quite down the zoo and terms for muscle spasms, we can use a little animal know to take care of it.

When is the last time you saw a cheetah running 60 mph and set itself off in muscle spasms?

Cheetahs and Muscle SpasmsMaybe they have four legs and can balance more evenly. Why wouldn’t they then have twice as many muscle spasms?

While we believe the right amount of electrolytes and a balanced diet helps the nervous system thrive instead of “pull” one for the team of our muscles. De-hydration too hasn’t shown itself to be too convincing either as the cause of muscle spasms even though we suspect it so.

Healthy vertebrate animals remain limber, agile and flexible on account of the little pandicular maneuvers they do each morning and throughout the day.

The good news is that the process they use has been systematized as somatics exercises which treat muscle spasms and other painful muscular conditions.

To deal with muscle spasms is to use the brain, the one big muscle, to re-set the offending signals.

It’s really quite easy to re-set an over contracting signal unless you have no experience at it… but we all do since most of us pandiculated in our mother’s womb.

It’s like a dusty software file in our brain. All we have to do is re-access it with a little know-how and “poof” the signal of the muscle spasms tunes down.

When we get good at reminding the nervous system how easy it is to reset it, then you can drop all the ice, balms, muscle relaxants and take care of it on the spot.

The brain can reset the resting rates of overly contracted muscles through a simple process which you yourself can replicate in case muscle spasms happens to you.


“Please bring me your muscle spasms.”

You can now access this online class. You’ll learn how to get out of muscle spasms using a little animal know how.

You’ll learn how to apply a simple 3 step method which is a piece of cake to get since we already have the movement software built in. Again, it’s just a matter a accessing it in the brain and getting the brain to release certain chemicals of relaxation.

By using the brain in a precise way, we can relax muscle spasms and calm the muscles down naturally and effectively.

OK, there may be a pucker factor or two to go through but the end will be a painless result, easier movement and the self-knowledge that muscle spasms ain’t no big thing.


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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.


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Many times when people get a cramp in the calf, they’ll call it a charlie horse.

Since healthy vertebrate animals naturally pandiculate, that is to say, they can take out any charlie horse or muscular stiffness, it may be appropriate to give them their due the next time you get a butt cramp, rather a charlie donkey.

Since we’re not going to see a cheetah pull a hamstring running at 70mph, if it did, would that be a charlie cheetah?

Would pigs be offended by the cheetah… since maybe they have a claim on the charlie hammie.

When you get laid out by a back spasm? Is that a charlie elephant?

Muscle cramps can happen as the spinal cord sends a signal to the muscles to pull back quickly… and if you use the animal know of a pandiculation, you can quiet down the zoo.

What’s your animal? Who’s your charlie?


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My beloved beautiful game is center at the world’s stage and yet I continue to see how many athletes didn’t make the competition on account of injuries or are cramping on the field. These injuries happen in the course of a game and in training.

In the recreational side of soccer, did you know that nearly 570,000 athletes were injured playing soccer in 2009?

While many athletes continue to “stretch” as a means of prevention and recovery many of their attempts are ill-fated and actually compound their problems. New research is out which you can use to benefit yourself.

As a self-proclaimed, Divorce Counselor for Stretching, there exists a more natural way to lengthen your muscles and have them functioning for your peak performance.

Your brain, if you will, is the big muscle which sends messages to your muscles to keep them contracted or relaxed at specific rates of contraction.

By pushing your muscles to lengthen, they actually re-contract.

It’s poignant to watch a calf muscle or hamstring get “pulled” in the course of a game and watch the trainers run onto the field and spray the muscles with the “secret” spray or forcefully try to lengthen the muscle in the opposite direction to gain length.

The obvious signal is the muscle is being shortened. This is what’s happening when you are experiencing a cramp or muscle spasm.

By pushing the muscle, when say your calf is cramping, you’re violating the stretch reflex. No worries… you won’t get a ticket for it. This reflex is what keeps the muscles contracting and set at certain levels. By forcing or pushing muscles into length, it actually recontracts and gets shorter afterwards. This is what they found out about back in 1936.

This protective mechanism is a good thing so your muscles don’t tear. This reflex can be readjusted by the brain instead of using force. If you push it, your muscles will be forced into length but the rate of contraction will continue and can be elevated so that your stiffness remains for longer periods of time.

Instead of trying to lengthen the muscle, the brain can be used to do what is clearly happening in the moment. The cramp is a muscle shortening to protect itself. So shortening it, is what is you can do in order for the muscle to allow itself to lengthen back and reset it’s level of contraction.

Now this may seem counterintuitive. Once you get the hang of a simple 3 step process, you’ll be able to use this natural approach which is systematized by Somatics Exercises. These types of exercises have been prescribed to successfully get people out of pain, stiffness and cramps or muscle spasms.

Your brain is showing what needs to be done but of course we normally “react” by pulling away from any pain.

Learning how to go with it, is what sets you free even though it’s counter to what we’ve been led to do.

Once you get the hang of Somatics, in which the goal, like stretching, is to lengthen the muscles, it’s simply achieved by the brain rather than than forcing a muscle.

Preventing injuries can be helped if the muscles are more relaxed in the first place. So it’s obvious, why make things tighter with brawn when you can use your brain to change how much activity and rate of contraction your muscles have to live with… it’s always easier to move if you’re less stiff, compensated, and not holding on for dear life in those exquisite moments of the mystery and misery of a cramp or muscle spasm.