A muscle cramp is an unexpected and uncontrolled shrinkage of one or more of body muscles leading to temporary immobility and unbearable pain. Leg cramps are primarily seen to hit the calves and hamstrings, though medically it can happen to any muscle of the body. Cramps occur due to various reasons; the primary ones being overuse of muscles due to physical activities, excesses, work out and exhaustion. Body dehydration is also responsible for muscle cramps. People who are above 65 are more susceptible to cramps. It might be linked to medical conditions like alcoholism, hypothyroidism, or diabetes.
Causes of Muscle Cramp
Sudden muscle spasms happen mostly during night time especially when one is sleeping. The calves or other muscles tighten and becomes immobile giving severe pain and uneasiness. The most important causes for muscle cramps are:
- Over exercising, wound, or over activities of muscles: during workout sessions, walking, trekking, exercise. It is common amongst players, athletes and adventure freaks.
- Cramps may be caused due of deficiency in essential minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, especially in the later months of pregnancy.
- Over use of cold water or exposure to cold climate suddenly
- Medical conditions like kidney function disorders, arterial issues, thyroid and multiple sclerosis
- Sitting or standing for long or strange sleeping postures
- Insufficient constituents of potassium and calcium
- Inadequate of fluid intake
- Intake of certain pills like steroids, statins, antipsychotics, birth control pills and diuretics
Immediate Reliefs from Muscle Spasms
There are certain instant to do’s that offer quick relief from the discomfort. Like it is always advisable to stretch the affected muscle followed by massage in the form of rubbing. One can take a shower with warm water or can put a heat pad on the area. Even ice pack or cold pack also works. Take pain killers available over the counter like mortin and naproxen. To avoid future cramps; drink loads of fluid and sports drink like Gatorade. However if the problem persists, consult doctor.
Home Remedies to get rid of Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps are triggered by overdoing of a muscle, dryness, anxiety or exhaustion. But medically speaking, it is some chemical reaction in the nervous system that compels muscles to shrink and cramp badly with pain. There are numerous cures which can be easily practiced at home for best results. Read on few of the most effective home therapies for muscle cramps.
Try these natural home remedies to let go the muscle tenderness, inflammation and discomfort.
- Cold compress on the affected muscles offer complete respite from a muscle spasm and its pain. The cold condition helps to get rid of the unbearable uneasiness, tenderness and help to relax. Cold compression also helps to drop the soreness of the muscles.
- Chamomile is an age old and one the most effective herb that supports to cure a range of diseases; one of them being muscle cramps. It contains multiple flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory features. One can rub chamomile essential oil on the affected muscles to provide respite from spasms. Chamomile tea is also effective.
- Deficiency in vitamin D causes muscle cramps. To overcome this problem; one must include foods rich in Vitamin D like egg, fish, milk and yoghurt. Sunlight is the key source of Vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight helps to cure muscle cramps, pain and tenderness.
- One tablespoon of yellow mustard followed by a glass of warm milk helps to reduce the ailment. Yellow mustard has acetic acid that produces acetylcholine in the body which in turn is a neuro transmitter and helps muscles to work and become active.
- Clove oil is endowed with anti-inflammatory properties which help to fight back swelling, soreness and discomfort in muscles. Applying warm clove oil in affected area with firm strokes for 5 minutes works wonder.
- Cherry juice also helps to resist inflammation and pain and mostly used by marathon runners and professional athletes. Cherry juice also has anti-oxidants properties. Even blueberries have anti-oxidant power which helps to decrease pain and uneasiness post work out sessions.
- Rosemary is also extremely beneficial in muscle cramp recovery. The process is simple. Take one ounce of rosemary and mix it in one jar full of boiling water. Cover it for 30 minutes. Then soak a washcloth and apply the same in the affected area for 10-15 minutes. Drinking these solutions is also effective.
- Take a relaxed and rejuvenating, warm shower. For more respite, mix in a half-cup of Epsom salt with the bath water. The magnesium content of the Epsom salt benefits in muscle relaxation.
- Eat foods rich in Vitamin E to prevent nocturnal muscle cramps. The diet should include dark leafy vegetables like spinach, almonds, shrimp, olive oil and broccoli etc.
- Capsaicin, an ingredient seen in cayenne pepper, is a common muscle relaxant that is commonly suggested to people suffering from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. It can be added to cuisines such as grilled shrimp with lemon cream recipe or one can buy cayenne pepper in the form of a capsule or tablet or as a cream or lotion. When used as an ointment, one can apply to areas of muscle spasms.
- Increased intake of Magnesium in the form of bananas, almonds, legumes, and brown rice helps to balance nerve functions and normal muscle activities.
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