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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Ways to handle Muscle Cramps

Written by: Sarah Akinlose

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A muscle cramp is a strong, painful contraction or tightening of a muscle that comes on suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. It often occurs in the legs. A muscle cramp is also called a charley horse. Nighttime leg cramps are usually sudden spasms, or tightening, of muscles in the calf.

Muscle cramps can be best described as a mild twitches, painful, cramps typically caused by an intense pain in the involved muscle.
Often a muscle that is cramping feels harder than normal to the touch or may even show visible signs of twitching.

Muscle cramps occur when they involuntarily contract and cannot relax. The skeletal muscles [those over which we have voluntary control] are most prone to muscle cramping. The skeletal muscles in the calf, thigh, and arch of the foot are most notorious sites of cramps.

It is not exactly what caused muscle cramps to develop. Insufficient stretching before exercise, exercising in the heat, and muscle fatigue may all play a role in their causation. Imbalances in the levels of electrolytes [sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate] in the blood can also lead to muscle cramps.

1. Gently massaging the muscle will often help it to relax, as will applying warmth from a heating pad or hot soak. If the cramp is associated with fluid loss, as is often the case with vigorous physical activity, fluid and electrolyte [especially sodium and potassium] replacement is essential and massage.

2. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to relax. For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly.

3. Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight or tight muscle.

If it happens while you are lying down, try to simply stand up and put some weight on the affected leg or foot. This can sometimes be enough to stop that tender stiffness. Use warm/heating pads to increase blood circulation to the muscle and to relax it.

During athletic games or exercise in hot/humid environment, remember to keep drinking adequate amount of water [with some salt] or drink rehydration solution.

For more stubborn pain, you can try a non – steroidal anti – inflammatory medication, such as Ibuprofen.

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