Have you ever felt that your muscles suddenly contract and involuntarily feel severe pain? If you know what we are talking about then you have experienced muscle cramps. But, what exactly is it, what causes it, and how can we treat it? Keep reading to find out what to do and how to stop this uncomfortable cramp!
What is muscle spasm?
As we said, muscle spasms are involuntary contractions that occur in one or more of your muscles. They cause severe pain but are generally harmless. Most muscle spasms develop in the back of your lower leg, and in the back or front of your thigh. However, it is also possible to experience cramps in your arms, hands, legs and abdominal wall.
This sudden, sharp pain lasts from a few seconds to 15 minutes and may be accompanied by a hard lump of muscle tissue under the skin. Muscle cramps often occur when you are sleeping or when you are doing intense physical work.
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what causes it?
There can be many reasons for muscle cramps. These are some of them: overuse of your muscles, dehydration, being out of shape, lack or loss of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, or magnesium in the diet, maintaining a position for long periods of time, physical exposure to high temperatures Timing of exercise, poor exercise technique, inadequate blood supply to muscles, nerve compression, etc.
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Although all of these conditions can cause muscle cramps, the most common is excessive exertion while exercising. This explains why muscle cramps commonly occur after high-intensity exercise, such as running, or prolonged and strenuous activity, such as a marathon.
Certain conditions can contribute to suffering from muscle cramps. Medical conditions such as pregnancy, age, alcoholism, diabetes, kidney failure, or thyroid disorders are some of them.
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How can we treat it?
If you feel muscle cramps while exercising, you should stop immediately and start walking slowly if you feel pain. After that, gently straighten your muscles and drink small sips of water or an isotonic drink until the pain goes away. You can also massage your muscles to relieve pain and use warm or cold cloths, ice, or heating pads on tense or tight muscles to help them relax.
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If muscle spasms frequently disrupt your sleep and there is no known reason why this happens to you, a doctor may prescribe certain muscle relaxants.
Can I do anything to stop this?
Prevention is better than cure to avoid injury. So you should know these tips to avoid muscle cramps. The most important thing is to stay hydrated. You lose more water when you are physically active, so you need to make sure you drink enough fluids while you exercise. Here you have a tip: You know you’re hydrated when your urine is light yellow or clear.
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Another important thing is to replace the electrolytes you lose when you sweat, especially if you are exercising in a humid or hot climate. How can you do this? Consuming products that contain sodium, calcium, potassium, or magnesium, such as bananas, nuts, seeds, vegetables, or dairy products. You should also reduce your caffeine intake. In short, having a healthy diet as always is better for your whole body.
Staying in shape will help you avoid muscle cramps, as well as stretching or warming up before and after exercise. In addition, you should graduate the intensity and duration of the exercise to allow your body to adapt. If you tend to have leg cramps while you sleep, light exercises like riding a stationary bike before bed can help prevent it.
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However, if you often suffer from muscle spasms or if it spreads to other parts of your body, you should speak to your doctor or physiotherapist.