How to prevent cramps? – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Overview

An uncontrollable, sudden spasm of one or more muscles is known as a muscle cramp. If you’ve ever been woken awake in the middle of the night or stopped in your tracks by an unexpected agony, you know how excruciating muscle cramps can be. Muscle cramps might briefly prevent you from using the affected muscle even though they are usually innocuous.

How to prevent cramps

Muscle cramps can result from prolonged physical activity or work, particularly in hot temperatures. Several drugs and medical disorders can also bring on muscle cramps. Muscle cramps are typically treatable at home with self-care techniques.

Menstrual cramps are throbbing, agonising pains that occur just before and during your period in your lower abdomen. They are some of the most typical and bothersome symptoms of your menstruation. Before or during that period of the month, they might strike.

Causes of muscle Cramps

The following are some of the causes of muscle cramps.

Straining or overusing a muscle

Overuse of muscles and straining causes microtrauma, which happens when tiny soft tissue fragments start to rip. Muscles and tissues will eventually endure increasing amounts of trauma, resulting in pain and a loss of function.

Compression of nerves

Nerve inflammation or pressure can cause nerve compression syndrome. The most general nerve inflammation is wrist carpal tunnel syndrome. Due to this, lower limbs may potentially be affected by nerve compression disorders. You should visit your healthcare physician if you feel unexplained limb numbness, discomfort, tingling, or weakness.

Dehydration

Blood volume decreases due to dehydration. This implies that your muscles and organs receive less blood, which causes cramps and spasms. In addition to making your muscles cramp, dehydration also causes a severe stomach ache.

Low levels of electrolytes

Conditions that result in an abnormal water balance in the body, like liver illness and ascites or renal failure and dialysis, can produce cramps. Low magnesium and calcium levels, in particular, impact the excitability of the neurons and related muscles.

Symptoms of Muscle cramps

The following are some of the vital symptoms of muscle cramps.

Cause severe discomfort

Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, and stomach viruses are some of the symptoms of abdominal pain due to cramps.

Associated with leg swelling and redness

A fluid that has become trapped in your legs might frequently be the cause of swelling in your legs. This fluid may accumulate due to several circumstances, such as an infection, an injury, or poor vein valves in your leg.

Associated with muscle weakness

Muscle weakness occurs due to a deficiency of calcium in the blood, which can result in issues relating to muscles, such as cramping and an irregular heartbeat.

Frequent cramps

Although most muscle cramps are insignificant, if they occur frequently and you are unsure of their cause— see your doctor. They may occasionally indicate a disorder like a thyroid disease, liver cirrhosis or artery hardening.

Strenuous exercise

It is said to cramp when your muscle abruptly tightens and stiffens up during exercise. It results in severe agony. Muscle cramps that occur during or right after exercise are referred to as “exercise-induced” or “exercise-associated” cramps.

Treatments for Muscle cramps

Following are the treatments given to treat muscle cramps.

Hot cloth

Menstrual cramps may be relieved by taking a hot bath or applying a heating pad or a cloth immersed in hot water to your lower abdomen. Heat treatment relieves muscular tension, improves blood flow, and reduces swelling.

Heating pad

Heating Pad in Cramps

A heating pad should be used for between 10 and 30 minutes, while there are no hard and fast regulations for how long it must be left on. Too little time may allow the muscle or joint to warm up and reap pain relief benefits.

Applying ice

Another effective method for treating muscle cramps is to apply ice. You can use an ice pack or a bag of ice to the cramping muscle once the discomfort subsides after applying heat. Don’t forget to drape a cloth over the ice. You can also try rubbing the cramp with an ice pack to loosen the muscle.

Risk factors of muscle cramps

Tight, inflexible muscles

Performing strenuous physical labour, lifting weights, or exercising frequently results in stiff muscles. You could also feel stiff when you get out of bed in the morning or get up from a chair after a lengthy period of sitting. Most often, this is caused due to sprains and strains.

Poor physical condition

Leg cramps may result from a diet low in potassium, calcium, or magnesium. Diuretics, often recommended drugs for high blood pressure, can also deplete these minerals.

Poor muscle tone

Muscle cramps can be brought on by overuse, dehydration, tension, or even holding a position for too long. However, the root cause is frequently unknown. Although most muscular cramps are unrelated to health issues, some could be caused by insufficient blood supply.

Muscle injury

Muscle injury in cramps

An injury to one of your muscles that causes it to tear is known as a muscle strain. They are among the most frequent injuries, particularly in athletes. A muscle tear, sometimes called a “pulled muscle,” can be partial or complete.

Muscle fatigue

A reduction in the maximum force or power produced by a muscle in response to contractile activity is referred to as muscle fatigue. It can come from several points along the motor route and is often composed of central and peripheral elements.

Prevention of muscle cramps

You can prevent muscle cramps in the following ways.

Stretch or warm-up

Stretch or warm-up may be helpful for cramp relief. At the same time, it can also lead to cramps.

Don’t exercise right after eating

Even while it’s not normally required to wait until after eating to work out, it’s advisable to give your stomach some time to settle. After a moderate-sized dinner, most people can wait 1-2 hours, whereas a snack can wait at least 30 minutes.

Lower your intake of food and drink

Spasms and cramps might also develop when your diet is deficient in calories, including minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium. Electrolyte- and nutrient-rich sports drinks can help with modest spasm relief.

Drink liquid to avoid dehydration

Rehydrate your body by consuming water or an electrolyte drink if you have muscle cramps. This shows that drinking ordinary water makes muscles more prone to cramping, whereas consuming electrolyte water makes muscles more resistant to cramping.

When to see a doctor?

Most women experience cramping and bloating as usual signs of their monthly “companion.” However, it is necessary to contact a doctor if the pain is severe, accompanied by significant bleeding, fever, or suddenly worse than the previous one.

Although cramps during the period are extremely common, extreme pain is not typical. If your period cramps are so excruciatingly severe that they prevent you from going about your everyday activities, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor.

Summing up

Spontaneous, involuntary contractions or spasms of one or more of your muscles are known as muscle cramps. They frequently happen after exercise and are highly prevalent. Some people get muscle cramps at night, particularly leg cramps. They may last a few seconds to many minutes and can be uncomfortable.

It is possible to avoid muscle cramping by stretching your muscles before working out. Try to stretch your leg muscles before bed and consume lots of drinks if you frequently experience leg cramps at night. Sports drinks might help you replace electrolytes if you exercise vigorously.

FAQs

What works best to stop cramps?

Stretching or massaging your muscles and eating enough essential elements like potassium, salt, calcium, and magnesium are some of the best ways to prevent cramps.

Do bananas help cramps?

Bananas are typically simple to get and have a reputation for relieving period cramps. In addition, bananas are a rich source of magnesium, which is proven to lessen the intensity of period cramps.

Does eating salt help with cramps?

More salt in the diet and sports drinks can help prevent heat cramps. The remedy for heat cramps is saline. Salty foods lead to retaining more water, which makes you bloat more and gives you uncomfortable period cramps.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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