Muscle cramps mean muscle contraction and tightening of muscles. Muscle cramps are strong and painful. They can last for a few seconds to several minutes. Muscle cramps can occur in any muscle of your body, but cramps in your legs and feet are very common. Everyone experiences a muscle cramp at some point in their life. They may hit you during exercise, while running, sitting, or even sleeping. Muscle cramps are also known as “Charley horses.” They are sudden tightenings in muscles; mostly in the thighs or the feet. Mostly, they occur while sleeping or waking up. Many preventative health care specialists prescribe taking special measures at home to get rid of muscle cramps.
Causes of Muscle Cramps
There are several causes of muscle cramps. Some of these are the following:
You might get hit by muscle cramps due to the mistake you made while working out. For example, not warming up before physical activity can lead to muscle cramps. Muscle cramps might also be caused by overusing your muscles. If a muscle is not allowed to relax properly, cramps might occur. That is why it is recommended to stretch, slowly cool down, and relax your body after any physical activity. If you do not rest after using your muscles a lot, lactic acid might build up in your muscle group. Muscles become irritated by the lactic acid build-up, causing a cramp. Primary care centers also provide special exercise facilities for patients to help them treat muscle cramps.
2. Unbalanced diet
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of muscle cramps. Older adults often drink less water at night in order to avoid ending up in the washroom again and again. Being active in hot temperatures causes the loss of precious body fluid in the form of sweat. This leads to dehydration, causing muscle cramps.
4. Reduced blood flow
The reduced flow of blood can also lead to muscle cramps. Narrowing of your arteries to your legs due to atherosclerosis causes a reduced flow of blood. According to some people,, if your feet stick out of your blanket, you might get cramps. Being cold due to not being covered can constrict the blood vessels, which leads to a reduced flow of blood. This, in turn, causes muscle cramps.
5. Bad sleeping posture
Putting your legs in award positions, while sleeping, can cause muscle cramps. Sitting for a long time, especially on a hard surface, can also lead to cramped muscles.
6. Medical Conditions
Muscle cramps can also occur due to certain medical conditions. A problem like a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back can also cause muscle cramps. Muscle cramps can also be caused by kidney disease, thyroid disease, and multiple sclerosis. Many such cases have been reported in healthcare specialties in Manhattan and Chelsea.
Some drugs and medications are also responsible for muscle cramps. Medicines like antipsychotics, birth control pills, diuretics, and steroids can cause cramps in your muscles.
Relief from Cramps
For relief from cramps, you can try multiple remedies and methods. If you have got one of those nasty cramps, then don’t worry. You are in the right place, and we will help you get rid of them. There are certain methods that provide rapid relief from muscle cramps. On the other hand, there are other remedies that greatly decrease the chance of getting cramps in the future. We would tell you both the quick cures to get rid of cramps and the long-term strategies to avoid them all at once.
The first thing that you need to do after getting a muscle cramp is to warm the area affected by the cramps. You can do this by using a hot bag. You can either buy a hot bag or make one at home. There are various posts on the internet that tell you how to make a hot bag at home easily.
Once you are done using the hot bag, you move on to stretches. The best way to get rid of the pain after getting muscle cramps is by trying different stretching postures. There are different postures for different cramps.
If you have a cramp in the calf while sleeping, then you should try this. Sit up in bed and cover your feet with a blanket. Now gently pull your toes towards yourself. You must keep your knees straight while doing this. You may also stand at the side of your bed. Now put your weight on your toes while lifting your heels. Standing on your toes like this helps stretch muscles in the front of your lower legs. For back cramps, the yoga posture known as the ‘’child’s pose’’ works the best. You can find more about this posture easily on the web.
Hamstring cramps are the most painful ones. To relieve pain from hamstring cramps, you need to sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Now start sliding your hands down your legs. Keep doing this until you feel a burning sensation in the cramped muscles. Now return to the sitting position. After you are done with this posture, keep your legs covered with the blanket for some time. You need to keep them warm and make sure they do not cool down rapidly. You may also use the hot bag again.
For prevention, you need to carefully read the reasons for cramps mentioned above and devise a strategy accordingly. Keeping hydrated throughout the day and eating foods rich in magnesium and potassium can help. If you often get muscle cramps due to cold feet, then you may wear warm socks at night. You must also make sure that your muscles are strong and stretchable through regular exercise. Remember not to overuse your muscles while working out. Taking a daily multivitamin is also known to help. You should also not suddenly increase the amount and intensity of your exercise. This needs to be done slowly, with time.
– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More