Muscle spasms occur when a muscle involuntarily contracts does not relax. They can happen during exercise, at rest, or at night and may be slightly uncomfortable or intensely painful. Muscle spasms can also occur in any muscle your arm. Although muscle spasms in the arm usually occur after exercise, they may still occur at any time throughout the day. If you are experiencing muscle cramps in your arms, it may be related to the following causes:
Although you may not feel
thirsty throughout the day, it is
important to regularly top up
your water levels. Your muscles
require water to contract and
relax properly. If you only have
one cup of water or so
throughout the day, it is likely
you may be dehydrated.
Beverages such as tea and coffee
can further dehydrate you as they contain caffeine. Even though these beverages also contain water, the caffeine in them has a diuretic affect; meaning they encourage the body to get rid of fluids through urination. During hot weather and exercise, it is especially important to up your intake of water as you will also lose it through sweating. Making sure you have a drink
bottle at work that you can refill is a good reminder to keep drinking during the day. If you’re not fond of the taste of plain water, adding fruits like lemons, oranges, strawberries or blueberries can add a touch of flavour to encourage you to drink more.
Frequently using your arm muscles during strenuous activities or heavy
lifting may also cause cramps. You may notice you only get cramps after a heavy workout or if you’ve been using your arms all day. They can also occur if you suddenly change your routine and start using your arms much more than normal. To help identify if overuse is causing your arm cramps, take note of when you experience arm cramps to see if there’s a pattern during the day.
3) Low potassium
Potassium is an electrolyte mineral found in a variety of foods and plays a direct role in the smooth contracting and relaxing of our muscles. Potassium levels decrease easily through fluid loss including sweating and urination. If you are someone who exercises regularly, it is especially important to ensure you are consuming an adequate amount of potassium. Drinks such as hydrolyte and coconut water contain high levels of potassium. Potassium rich foods also include: salmon, white beans, avocado and potatoes. It is important to not only keep up a regular intake of high potassium foods, but also give yourself an extra boost before workouts. Taking a hydrolyte approximately 4 hours before you plan to work out or play sport will ensure your body has enough time to absorb the potassium.
4) Low magnesium
Magnesium is another mineral that plays a role in optimal muscle function. Magnesium helps muscles to relax by encouraging the brain to send relaxation nerve signals to the muscle instead of contraction signals. Low magnesium levels could impact your muscles ability to relax after a workout or at night, causing cramps in your arms. Magnesium powder is the most easily absorbed type of magnesium to take, just make sure it contains magnesium amino acid chelate as its primary ingredient. Magnesium amino acid chelate is also the most bioavailable form of magnesium.
How you can get relief:
Soft Tissue Occupational Therapy:
Appointing with a Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist can assist you in identifying the causes of your arm cramps and provide advice and guidance on how to reduce, and ideally, get rid of them. They can also provide hands on treatment to work
through muscle tension in your arms to allow greater
movement and strength in your arms, but also less tightness
Spasmed muscles may also benefit from heat. Heat increases blood flow and allow nutrients to flow into the muscle, decreasing tension. Heat packs, a warm bath or heat creams are all suitable options.
Regular stretching can further assist with relaxing spasmed muscles. Stretching will lengthen the muscle, aiding recovery and repair. Very gently stretching your arm during a spasm could also help to break the spasm cycle.
To stretch your bicep, hold your arm out to the side with the palm of your hand facing down. Rest your hand against a door frame or bench and learn slightly forward until you feel a stretch in your bicep.
To stretch your triceps, lift your arm above your head and bend it behind you to try and touch your back. Use your other hand to gently push down on your elbow.
To stretch your forearms, place you hands on the floor in a kneeling position. Gently lean towards your fingertips until you feel a stretch. Turn your hands over so your knuckles are on the ground and lean towards your fingertips.
Bicep Stretch Tricep Stretch Photo: CM Cure Photo: Netfit