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Whether you’re training, in competition or just completing a basic task, a muscle cramp can happen involuntarily and hinder your ability to move comfortably. The muscle contracts on its own and creates a hard lump at the centre point of pain. The cramping pain can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes before it restores itself. Our muscles are used and controlled voluntarily, mainly in the arms, legs and neck, but can “spasm” with odd movement. If the contraction is forceful or sustained, it can become a cramp.

In this article, we’ll examine types of muscle cramps and how to prevent them to keep you comfortable and keep your muscles protected at all times with kinesiology tape.

Types Of Muscle Cramps

1. True Cramps

True cramps apply to a part of the entirety of a single muscle or group of muscles that move together, such as muscles that flex certain adjacent fingers or leg muscles. True cramps are believed to be caused by hyperexcitability of nerves that stimulate certain muscles. True cramps are arguably the most common type of skeletal muscle cramps and occur as a result of the following:

  • Injury: Continuous, persistent muscle spasm may develop as a protective response to an injury, such as a broken bone. When this occurs, the muscle spasm can restrict movement and stabilize the injured area, causing it to spasm.
  • Vigorous Activity: True cramps are often associated with vigorous use and strain of the muscles or muscle fatigue. This type of cramp may occur during an activity, right after or even hours after. Muscle fatigue caused by sitting or lying for an extended period of time in an odd position or overuse can cause cramps. Older adults are at a much higher risk of developing cramps when they perform activities, especially strenuous activities.

2. Dehydration Cramps

Dehydration muscle cramps are caused by vigorous activity and endurance sports due to excessive fluid loss from sweating. These cramps commonly occur in warmer weather and may be indicative of heatstroke. This excessive depletion of body fluids and lack of fluid intake can cause dehydration and be associated with cramps.

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3. Rest Cramps

Rest cramps are extremely common, especially in older adults, however, it can impact people of any age, including children. Rest muscle cramps commonly occur at night and although they are usually not life-threatening or debilitating, they can be painful and disrupt a normal sleep schedule if they occur frequently. The cramps can sometimes be initiated by making an awkward movement that shortens the muscle.

5. Tetanic Muscle Cramps

Tetany muscle cramps often occur as the effect of tetanus toxins which stimulate the muscles and can cause spasms and cramps throughout the body. This type of cramp is associated with certain conditions such as low blood levels of calcium and magnesium. Both calcium and magnesium can form tetanic cramps due to hyperactivity and may cause numbness and tingling.

6. Dystonic Cramps

Dystonic cramps involve muscles that are not required for the intended movement and can become contracted. The muscles that are impacted by dystonic cramping often include those that function is the opposite direction of the movement intended or exaggerate the movement. Dystonic cramping can affect smaller muscle groups, including the eyelids, jaw and neck.

How Kinesiology Tape Prevents Muscle Cramps

Kinesiology tape supports the muscles and nerves by enhancing the body’s natural healing process. By balancing the muscles and increasing their function, kinesiology tape provides pain relief. To avoid future muscle cramps, ensure you’re stretching your body before and after a workout. The kinesiology tape reduces the frequency of muscle cramping, muscle fatigue and over-exertion or over-tightening of muscles throughout the body.

Taping a specific area of your body can form a protective mechanism. Kinesiology tape creates a space between the skin and muscle while supporting the lymphatic fluid system. The tape also accelerates waste products within the muscle, which can help prevent and ultimately relieve muscle cramps and spasms in injured or overworked muscles. Kinesiology tape also reduces pressure on the lymphatic drainage system that can collect into an injured muscle to reduce bruising and swelling.

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Muscle strength is significantly reduced when the muscle becomes injured or cramped. Kinesiology tape enhances muscle strength in weak or injured muscles and can correct the area for quicker recovery time.

In addition to using kinesiology tape to protect muscles against muscle cramps and spasms, use the following tips:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: Ensure you’re pre-hydrating at least thirty minutes prior to an activity. If the activity lasts for longer than an hour, consume a fluid with electrolytes designed to rehydrate the body while exercising. Avoid drinking fruit juices or soda while exercising, as the excess sugar can cause cramping.
  • Stretch your muscles: It’s important to ensure you’re stretching and warming up properly before any activity, especially endurance performances. You should also be stretching after you finish as well.
  • Eat healthy foods: Base your diet on healthy foods, especially foods that are rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium. Include multivitamins in your diet daily and try to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake.

SpiderTech creates some of the most outstanding, durable and affordable kinesiology taping methods on the market. Providing not only exceptional muscle support and comfort, but SpiderTech kinesiology tape also helps to enhance athletic performance and protect muscles against inflammation and keep muscles supported for days at a time. Their kinesiology muscle support tape is also water-resistant and sweat-resistant to allow athletes to wear it at all times, even in the shower!

Visit the SpiderTech website to learn more about their kinesiology taping solutions: