We’ve all been its victims, we know the pain, and we all secretly hope it never happens again. But unfortunately, and involuntarily so, every now and then, they do.
Muscle cramps are evil. They render you incapable for a moment or a few and leave you appalled. But have you ever wondered how do they happen?
Well, muscle cramps are a result of a sudden spasm and a spontaneous contraction in your muscles. They can occur in one single tissue or multiple tissues at once.
These cramps are rapid, painful, and can persist from a few seconds to some minutes. Muscle cramps commonly happen after an exercise. Even worse, some muscle cramps occur at night when you are asleep.
These muscular contractions also sometimes referred to as ‘charley horse.’ It is so because when they happen, usually in the legs, you start hopping like a horse. Funny, but true, and also painful.
Muscle cramps are really not that big a deal. They are widespread and happen to most. The causes of muscle cramps are quite common. Let us get an insight into the reasons muscle cramps occur:
Causes of Muscle Cramps:
#1. Overuse of a muscle
- If you put a lot of strain or overuse a particular muscle, you may trigger a muscle cramp in that area. Hence, stressing a specific muscle for a long time may result in sudden contractions. This is also a reason why people face muscle cramps after exercise. On the other hand, people who do not workout regularly are inactive throughout the day may suffer muscle cramps more often.
- Dehydration is a significant cause of muscle cramps. If you face muscle cramps too often, it may be your body’s way of telling you to drink up more water. Dehydration can happen due to excessive effects of heat on the muscles. When you work hard in the heat, your muscles worker harder and squeeze up due to the weather. This changes the level of electrolytes in your body, causing muscle cramps.
#3. Depletion of essential minerals
- The poverty of crucial minerals in your body can lead to muscle cramps. Make sure you eat healthy food comprising all the rich minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc.
#4. Nerve compression
- The compression of nerves in the spine or any other part of your body can very well trigger muscle cramps. These cramps may aggravate while walking or doing any other activity that employs the weak, affected muscles. Hence, nerve compressions can often lead to sudden muscle cramps in your legs and feet.
How to recover from a muscle cramp?
There are numerous tactics to stop muscle cramps from happening:
#1. Straighten the affected part
Straighten the cramped muscle, stretch, and massage it. Make sure you stretch or continuously massage the muscle to slacken the area. However, if the pain escalates, avoid doing it.
#2. Use an ice pack
Contrary to the ice pack, you can also relax the stiffened muscle using a heating pad or by taking a warm shower. It is advisable to do this after the cramp has been and gone and not while the spasm still has your muscles clutched tight.
#3. Take medicine if necessary
There are only a few biological problems in the world that cannot be cured by medicine. These problems, too, hopefully, will be resolved soon with such rapid advancements in the field of biotechnology. Medications for cramps usually ease the pain in the muscles, which follow the cramp. Muscle cramps are one of those problems that cannot be solved with medications just yet. So only pain meds, for now.
#4. Rest properly.
Well, they say he when you seek rest, you find boredom. But for muscle cramps, rest, you may ask, healing you shall receive. It is a requisite to rest sufficiently and let the damaged muscles of your body recover. Do not strain or overuse that body part, or else the pain shall remain for prolonged duration and can also intensify. Even more so, overuse of that muscle may give way to another cramp.
How to prevent muscle cramps?
One can easily prevent muscle cramps using various self-care methods.
#1. Stay hydrated all-day.
- If you are a workout junkie, or if your work demands physical exertion, always keep your body hydrated. Drink energy/sports drinks, fruit juices, or any other healthy fluids to avoid muscle cramps.
#2. Keep stretchin’
- Stretching muscles is an easy way to avoid muscle cramp pain. If you extend your muscles daily before exercising or sleeping, or even after regular intervals throughout the whole day, you can positively prevent muscle cramps.
#3. Maintain a healthy diet
- What you eat is what you become. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet and that you include in your diet all of the vital nutrients that are necessary to have a healthy body.
#4. Do not increase your exercise duration rapidly.
- In the moment of excitement of getting a toned physique, you might mistakenly go super-heavy in the gym, which can be disastrous. Start with light weights and exercise and steadily increase your exercise duration and weights.
#5. Avoid alcohol or caffeine drinks
- A good drink or some morning coffee is sure good fun. But these drinks produce lactic acid in the body, which leads to muscle cramps, among other damages. Try and reduce the consumption of such beverages, if not boycott, to ensure there are fewer muscle cramps.
Spasms or muscle cramps happen to everyone. There are several reasons why a muscle cramp occurs in a person. However, it is easy to recover from a muscle cramp and even prevent it from happening again. If you only follow the aforementioned self-care tips, you shall be fine.
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