Get Moving: 5 Exercises to Soothe and Prevent Muscle Spasms
The types of stretches and exercises for muscle spasms depend on where the spasms occur. Discuss any prolonged or chronic muscle spasms with your doctor to determine if any underlying health issues could be causing your cramped muscles.
Calf Muscle Stretch
Stand close to a wall, and lean against it with your hands on its surface and one leg in front of the other. Straighten your back leg, and press the heel to the floor while bending the knee of the front leg. Hold this stretch for up to 30 seconds, keeping both heels flat on the floor. The toes of your back foot should point toward the heel of your front foot. Switch your back and front legs to work both calves. This stretch helps keep your calf muscles from cramping.
Feel the hamstring stretch along the back of your thighs and knees. Sit up straight with legs fully extended in front of you. Put the palms of your hands along the floor, and slide toward your ankles until the stretch is mildly uncomfortable. Hold this stretch for approximately 30 seconds. This helps loosen your upper leg muscles.
The mid-trap exercise helps your rhomboid muscles that connect your shoulder to the back. Lie on your stomach on the floor or other hard surface, and place a pillow underneath your chest. Your arms are straight against your sides with thumbs upward. Raise your arms into the air as you slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lower your arms gently. Repeat this maneuver 15 times. As this exercise becomes easier, hold small weights in your hands for added resistance and better strength.
Thoracic Side Stretch
This back exercise starts in the sitting position with your legs straight in front of you. For the right side of your upper back, point your right elbow and shoulder forward as if to bend down toward your knees. Twist your trunk, or torso, to the left, and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat this process three times, and then switch to the left side. For the left-side stretch, point your left elbow and twist the trunk to the right.
Two yoga poses may help stretch your back to alleviate spasms. The prayer pose back stretch starts as you get on your knees on the floor with your legs behind you. Then, bend at the hips and knees, extending your arms above your head in a straight line against the floor in the opposite direction of your legs. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
The cat stretch starts with your hands, knees and toes against the floor as you assume the position of a four-legged animal. Gently arch your back upward similar to a cat, and then thrust your back slowly downward while moving your head upward.
Muscle spasms, otherwise known as muscle cramps, occur when a skeletal muscle involuntarily contracts and holds its position for a period of time. Usually, spasms fix themselves after a few moments. However, some spasms remain afterward and may require medical attention. Stretches and exercises can help soothe and prevent muscle spasms.