Woman massaging a muscle spasm on her calf

Comprehensive Guide on Massaging Muscle Spasms

- Cloud Massage Brand Team

Woman massaging a muscle spasm on her calf

If you’ve ever felt a sudden twinge of discomfort or pain from one of your muscles, you’ve most likely experienced an acute muscle spasm or cramp. Fear not! You are not alone. Muscle spasms are fairly common and most often occur in the legs, but can also affect the back, feet, fingers, and toes. Sadly, this doesn’t make them any less painful.

Luckily, there are many tricks, tips, and techniques to help you through your next spasm. However, before exploring relief options, it is important to understand what a muscle spasm is and why it happens in the first place.

First things first: What is a muscle spasm? 

Muscles help our bodies move through cycles of contracting and relaxing. For example, when you grip your mug to sip your morning cup of Joe, your muscles contract. When you place it down, your muscles relax. Sometimes, a muscle can spontaneously contract or tighten without relaxing afterwards. This unsubsiding tension is a muscle spasm notorious for causing twitching, discomfort, and pain. To make matters worse, many people experience tenderness and soreness for a few days after a spasm. Can’t we catch a break?

What causes muscle spasms? 

As mentioned before, muscle spasms happen spontaneously, meaning that their cause is idiopathic, or not entirely known. According to the Cleveland Clinic, many experts believe that muscle cramping is often caused from dehydration, a lack of stretching and exercise, and stress to name a few. To prevent spasms, many professionals recommend drinking plenty of water each day *sips water* as well as finding time to stretch and move around.

How can I treat a muscle spasm?

If you’re beyond the point of prevention (aka you’re experiencing a muscle spasm), we’re here to help! Although unpleasant, there are a handful of ways to reduce the pain. Some great options include heat and ice therapy, stretching, and light exercise to encourage blood circulation. Another highly effective method is massage therapy. According to the FIT Institute, a massage for muscle spasm episodes is extremely effective for stimulating circulation and loosening tight, tender muscles.

Massage Therapy for Muscle Spasms

When dealing with any kind of medical issue, it is important to seek advice from a doctor or specialist to rule out any major concerns. Once cleared by your provider, there are several professional and at-home treatments that can provide relief. To get you started, we’ve highlighted some massage methods to help you find what works best for your lifestyle.

Professional massages

Professional massages are highly-effective for cramping in major muscle groups. The most  common massage types for muscle spasms include remedial, Swedish, and deep-tissue. These professionally-performed muscle spasm massage techniques actively stimulate blood circulation to reduce muscle tension and discomfort.

Self-applied massages

We understand that professional massages may not be the right choice for everyone. As an alternative, we’ve included ways to massage for back spasms, leg cramps, and neck pain.

  • Lower back spasms: Find a comfortable criss-cross position on the floor and elongate your back. Next, locate your sacrum or the flattened, triangular area at the bottom of your spine. Firmly press your thumbs into the surrounding muscles and massage in small, circular motions. Remember to pause as needed and breathe deeply into the muscles. 
  • Leg spasms: Gently rub the cramped area by pressing your thumbs into the muscle. For more relief, try slightly bending your knee and putting weight on the affected leg. 
  • Neck spasms: Relax your body, lower your shoulders, and gently stretch your neck. Then, search for the most tender areas by firmly pressing your fingers into your neck. When you’ve pinpointed the right spot, softly massage by moving fingers in a circular motion for about 3-5 minutes. When massaging, be sure to focus on the areas surrounding the tense muscle for even more relief.

At-home massage devices 

If hands-on massaging is not right for you, there are plenty of massage devices designed to help soothe pain and improve circulation. Take a look at the products below to find what best suits your needs:

Massage guns: These small-yet-mighty gadgets are great for releasing muscle tension and relieving muscle spasm pain. Powerful, handheld devices such as the VYBE Premium Percussion Massage Gun lends 3,200 strokes per minute enabling deep, perpetual penetration into the muscles. As a bonus, this lightweight massage gun includes four interchangeable attachment heads, each designed with a specific muscle-soothing purpose! 

Foot and leg massagers: The Shiatsu Foot & Leg Massager by Cloud Massage is a great way to stimulate circulation and help flush out painful aches and pains in calves, ankles, and feet. This pro-grade massage for leg cramps comes programmed with an array of massage styles as well as adjustable heat and intensity settings. Sit back, relax, and select the combination that best suits your needs. Time to kick off your journey to comfort!  

Post-massage soreness 

Due to the body’s natural healing process, it is very common to experience cramps after a massage for muscle soreness. According to Healthline, a massage stimulates blood flow into areas that often don’t receive as much. In addition, a massage flushes out toxins trapped within the muscles which can increase tenderness. Drinking plenty of fluids, stretching, and resting are some easy and effective ways to tackle post-massage soreness. 

Before you go...

It’s important to understand that every case is different when dealing with medical concerns and issues. Because of this, we encourage that you always tend to your own needs and comfort levels. Always consult a doctor or specialist if you have any questions, or if your symptoms do not improve. 

Check out this article provided by the Cleveland Clinic to learn more about how to reduce muscle spasm episodes, preventative care, and treatment options.