Muscle Cramps: Treatment and Prevention
You’re walking along and all of a sudden a “twitch” keeps you from continuing or you suddenly awake to a stabbing pain in your leg. Cramps are involuntary muscles contractions that can be caused by a variety of factors.
The goods news is that there are remedies and techniques you can take advantage of that don’t involve changes to your daily routine, and most of all, they don’t hurt. Learn more about preventing muscle cramps in this article.
There are many reasons that can cause a person to suffer from cramps that, as we mentioned earlier, are uncontrollable muscle movements. The most common causes are:
- Excessive loss of fluids or mineral salts.
- Insufficient oxygen and blood flow to the area.
- Prolonged strain.
- Accumulation of lactic acid (common in athletes).
- Sudden, repetitive or strong movements of the muscles in the cold.
- Sudden contact with cold water.
- Being overweight.
- Taking certain medications.
- Renal insufficiency.
- Muscle fatigue.
- Metabolic problems.
- Calcium and magnesium deficiencies in the body.
- Lack of vitamins.
- Incorrect sleeping position.
- Poor posture while working or studying.
- Emotional tension or anxiety.
- Little muscle movement.
Stomach cramps are the result of the blood flowing directly to this area to digest foods. If instead of staying still, you get up and start walking, playing sports or swimming, the stomach begins to suffer and it will lead to cramps.
The hands and wrists are other critical areas of the body prone to cramps due to the circulation problems known as “carpel tunnel syndrome” that affects people who have to type a lot.
The most typical zone where cramps appear is in the legs and is due to all the causes listed above.
There are two different symptoms associated with legs cramps. The first is local pain in the affected area and the second is a sharp pain or a jerking sensation that starts to tingle.
Tips to prevent and reduce muscle cramps
When you’re suffering from a cramp, the best thing you can do is lightly stretch the affected area to relieve the pain and relax the cramped muscle.
Physical therapy, massages and sleeping without a pillow are great ways to avoid cramps in the neck and shoulders. Practices like yoga and tai chi can also help cramps in general. Start exercising for half an hour a day so that the blood can oxygenate the muscles and tissue, as well as repair and nourish them.
If your legs tend to cramp a lot, elevate your legs with a cushion or support them against a wall. You can also sleep with several pillows between the the legs, apply a hot water bottle or heating pad, etc.
Nutrition is really important to avoid cramps. Include foods that are rich in calcium in your diet like oranges, almonds, broccoli, leafy greens, soy milk and dairy products, and others that provide a lot of magnesium like nuts, whole grains, cocoa, beans, algae and soy flour. Eat a banana a day and don’t forget to hydrate your body.
If you exercise a lot, consider drinking water or sports drinks to avoid dehydration and be sure to stretch well each time you exercise.
- Drink liquids throughout the day.
- Wear loose fitting clothing, especially pants and socks.
- Take a warm bath before going to sleep.
- Practice relaxation techniques.
- Exercise to strengthen the ankles.
- Place weight on the ball of your foot, not the heel when you walk.
- Sleep on your stomach with your legs extended.
- Consume natural diuretics.
- Wrap the affected area in an elastic band, but not too tight.
Natural remedies for muscle cramps
Check out the following remedies for cramps. All natural and homemade, they offer great results.
Remedy for cramps no. 1
- 3 tablespoons gingko biloba
- 1 cup water
Boil the gingko in the water for 10 minutes, remove from heat, let brew, strain and drink daily.
Recipe for cramps no. 2
- Rosemary essential oil (you can also use pine or eucalyptus)
- Olive oil
Mix both oils in equal parts (a few drops will be enough) and warm between the hands. Apply to the area affected by the cramp so that the heat and the properties of the oils help soothe the pain.
Remedy for cramps no. 3
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup warm water
Mix everything and drink immediately (without burning yourself) so that the calcium is distributed evenly throughout the body.
Remedy for cramps no. 4
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 liter water
Boil the mustard seeds in the water for 10 minutes. Fill your bath tub with warm water and pour in the mixture. Immerse yourself in the bath until the water cools.
Remedy no. 5
- 1 handful bay leaves
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 cup water
Make a tea with the ingredients, strain and drink while warm. Repeat daily for a week.