How to Deal with Muscle Cramps and Spasms

Muscle cramps and spasms can happen to any dancer, at any time. At best, they're super-annoying; at worst, they can be totally crippling. Here, Dance Spirit breaks down this all-too-common problem, so it won't cramp your style any longer.

What They Are

Cramps and spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that usually happen after an intense workout or rehearsal (or, in less-than-ideal cases, right in the middle of one). They're protective mechanisms—basically, they're your body telling you to stop whatever you're doing and take care of your muscles.

What Causes Them

The most common causes of cramps and spasms are dehydration, electrolyte deficiency, overuse, and holding positions for long periods of time.

How to Deal

Stay Hydrated!


H2O is key to keeping your muscles happy and relaxed. Make a point of reaching for your water bottle during rehearsal breaks.

Stay Stretched!


Make sure you stretch before and after dancing or cross-training, especially if a specific area feels more sensitive than others.

Stay Vigilant!


Ice your muscles when you feel any dull pain, and heat them if they're tight. Also, get acquainted with every dancer's best friend: the foam roller.

A version of this story appeared in the January 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Your Aches and Pains Addressed: Muscle Cramps and Spasms."

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