How to Stop Muscle Cramps Fast

10 February, 2020
Muscle cramps occur as a result of irritation of the nerves, which causes the muscle to contract continuously. This involuntary spasm can last between a few second and a few minutes.

Muscle cramps can be extremely painful, so it’s important to learn some quick, natural ways to relieve them.

This problem is really common and affects one in two people over the age of 60 on a regular basis. Plus, tons of people of all ages have occasional problems with muscle cramps. The involuntary contraction can last a few seconds or even minutes.

Muscle cramps can affect any muscle in the body. However, the most commonly affected areas are the calves, thighs, hands and feet. According to this information from the US National Library of Medicine, chronic muscle cramps can occur for a number of different reasons:

  • Mineral deficiency, particularly potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamin E.
  • Excessive loss of fluids. 
  • Diseases such as arthritis, arteriosclerosis or fibromyalgia.
  • Diuretic medication. 

If the cramps are sporadic, it’s usually caused by:

  • Forgetting to stretch the muscles before and after exercising.
  • Awkward movements or exposure to cold temperatures.

Ways to combat muscle cramps

Stretching

Muscle cramps are caused by a contraction of the tissue. So, the first step is to try to stretch it out.

If the cramp is in your calf, for example, slowly try to relax the muscle. In this case, you can bend the knee, trying to bring your heel as close to your thigh as possible while keeping the foot relaxed.

If the cramp is in your toes, hold them with your hand and try to stretch each one individually.

Oil massage

You can use a little vegetable oil (olive, sunflower, sesame, coconut, or almond) to massage the cramping area. Experts recommend applying firm pressure, massaging in the opposite direction of the pain and always working upward.

The most important thing is to generate some localized heat. The idea is to combat the cold associated with cramp, and make the recovery as fast as possible.

Heat pad

Another way of applying heat to the area quickly is to use a heat pad. While it warms up, start stretching the muscle. Then, once it’s ready, alternate between applying the heat pad and massaging the muscle.

Anything that can be heated is a good alternative if you don’t have a heat pad. For example, some people use hot water bottles.

Rosemary extract to stop muscle cramps

 

Rosemary extract is a timeless remedy for an oil-free massage. It has rapid-acting anti-inflammatory and circulatory properties, according to this study carried out by the Paulista State University in Brazil, so it’s always good to have it on hand to help combat cramps.

rosemary extract

Another advantage is that you can also make it yourself by following these simple steps:

  • You’ll need a glass container with a tight lid.
  • Fill the container with sprigs of rosemary, freshly picked if possible. The best time is when the plant is flowering.
  • Add 96% rubbing alcohol to the container (available at any pharmacy or grocery store).
  • Close the container tightly and let it sit for 15 days in a cool, dark place.
  • After the 15 days have passed, strain off the liquid and store it in a tightly sealed dark glass container.

The resulting mixture can be used to combat muscle cramps.

Read more:

Uses of rosemary oil you don’t know

How can you prevent muscle cramps?

Experts recommend doing certain exercises and using natural preventative methods to combat this problem. That way, you can avoid the more serious consequences of muscle cramps.

The first step is to eat more foods that are rich in magnesium and potassiumYou can find these minerals in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and bananas.

Another good option is to start eating a salad with nuts and sprouted seeds every day: it’ll give you lots of vitamins and minerals.

If your cramps are very persistent, as well as consulting with a specialist, you can also try taking a magnesium supplement.

For thigh and calf cramps, it’s a good idea to apply cold water to the affected area every day. According to this study from the University of the Americas (Santiago, Chile), this can help to relieve pain. In addition, viburnum tincture is a really good remedy for preventing cramps.

  • Maquirriain, J., & Merello, M. (2007). The athlete with muscular cramps: Clinical approach. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://doi.org/10.5435/00124635-200707000-00007
  • Hallett, M. (2006). Pathophysiology of writer’s cramp. Human Movement Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2006.05.004
  • Bertolasi, L., De Grandis, D., Bongiovanni, L. G., Zanette, G. P., & Gasperini, M. (1993). The influence of muscular lengthening on cramps. Annals of Neurology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.410330207