At some point, you might have experienced a cramp or some muscle spasm. When your muscle contracts suddenly, it might be for a few seconds, or sometimes it can even last for a few minutes. These cramps occur when your muscle spasms and there are some involuntary contractions. Getting cramps in your legs is actually quite common but getting cramps in other areas except legs is not that common though you can still get it.
This can be a major cause of getting cramps. If you are exercising, there will be even more water lost from your body in the form of sweat. Hot weather can lead to dehydration as well.
Sitting Or Standing
Your muscles need to move. If you sit or you stand in one place for far too long, it can lead to you getting cramps. People who sit at desks for the whole day might have cramps because they are sitting in such positions for such long periods of time. Even traveling for too long can cause cramps, so it is important that you move around when you can to relieve tension. It is important to develop good posture as well because this can ensure that you do not get cramps or any aches because of sitting in these positions.
Overuse Of A Muscle
After an intense workout or a long run etc., you might get cramps. This can happen because the muscle gets over-excited. After all, the nerves that run from your brain get overexcited. If you do an intense workout suddenly and your muscles are not used to it, they might respond by cramping. Always increase the intensity of muscles gradually.
It is important that you have the electrolytes in your body, and these prevent you from getting cramps. If you do not have enough calcium, sodium, potassium, or magnesium in your diet, this can cause cramps. You can get all these nutrients by eating nuts, bananas, spinach, and yogurt. These foods can ensure that you get all these minerals again.
More Serious Problems
Usually, cramps might not be due to some severe issues. However, sometimes you might get more serious issues.
Hardened arteries in your legs can restrict blood supply- your arteries might be too narrow, and your legs might not be getting enough blood supply, especially when you try to exercise.
Nerve Compression In The Spine Due To Lumbar Stenosis
When this happens, you might feel pain, but you might feel a lot of pain if you walk for a long time.
The Depletion Of Magnesium, Potassium, Or Calcium
A poor diet can lead to you having these deficiencies, or you might also use some diuretic that can cause cramps.
If you feel any muscle weakness, swelling, or redness in your legs or cramping, then show it to your doctor.
What To Do When You Get A Cramp?
When you get a cramp, then try and stretch the muscle in the opposite direction to which it is cramping and getting tight. You can also massage the area to get the cramp to relax. If you have a foam roller around then, you can use that to loosen up the muscles in the area that you are getting the cramp. Foam rollers are great tools for stretch and muscle recovery in general, so you can use them a lot even if you do not always get cramps. You can also try heat and cold therapy for your muscles.
In this, you have to apply heat to the muscle when it cramps. You can use a towel and put it in a bowl of hot water, and apply that towel to your muscles for about twenty minutes. You can also fill rice in a sock, microwave it until it is hot, and then use it in the cramped area for twenty minutes. After the contracting is gone, you can apply ice packs to the area as they ease all sore muscles.
How do you prevent cramps – You should drink enough water every day. The exact amount might vary and change depending on your height, weight, level of physical activity, etc. Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant should drink a lot of water. Other than water, you can also have milk, herbal teas, and fruit juices.
If you have any deficiencies, then try and meet them. Eat foods that can give you all the nutrients that you require. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. If you still do not get these nutrients from foods, then you can consider a supplement. Pregnant women take magnesium supplements sometimes to help with muscle cramps.
If you are about to exercise, make sure you warm up well before starting any exercise. Do some static and dynamic stretches. Make sure that you stretch your muscles well before you start as well. If you get cramps at night, you can stretch before you go to sleep.
If you keep getting cramps, then you might have to show that to your doctor. If you have done everything that you can to prevent it, then there might be an issue. Even if your cramps are too painful, you should consult a doctor. Most cramps can be treated at home, and the issue is not a huge problem. Mostly it might be that you have not consumed enough electrolytes etc. But as mentioned above, some issues might be more severe, and you will have to visit a doctor in such a situation as it can be difficult and harmful for you.