What To Do When You Get a Cramp

· March 27, 2017
Muscle cramps are involuntary muscle contractions, and they're very common. In fact, nearly everyone has experienced them! Learn about what to do when you get a muscle cramp and how to help prevent future cramps.

The pain occurs in any region of the body and can strike when we least expect it. We’re talking about the infamous “cramp.”

Who hasn’t had a cramp?

The answer to that question, strangely, would end up being “nobody.” This is all thanks to the body’s composition, which is made up of muscles in every region.

What’s a cramp?

Qué es un ‘calambre

A cramp is nothing more than an involuntary muscle contraction.

Sometimes, the whole muscle tissue doesn’t contract, but only part of it. This makes the cramp concentrated into one area. The pain is, of course, just as intense and annoying.

Cramps occur without any direct trauma or damage to the muscle. In fact, it’s common after overestimating the body or before going to sleep.

Causes of involuntary muscle contractions

As we mentioned above, direct trauma doesn’t cause cramps, as many people believe.

In fact, the factors that cause it are a little more varied and far from muscle damage.

The most common are:

  • Injuries to the spinal cord.
  • Nerve malfunction.
  • Muscular overexertion.
  • Lack of minerals.
  • Hydration problems.
  • Insufficient blood flow in the muscle.
  • A pressed nerve in the back or neck.

Other factors that cause cramps are:

  • Pregnancy.
  • Periods.
  • Renal insufficiency.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Alcohol problems.
  • Certain medications.

What to do when you get a cramp

Qué hacer cuando se presenta un ‘calambre’

You can get a cramp at any time, so it’s recommended to know what to do when you get one. Essentially, you need to know how to be prepared for the situation.

Before doing physical activity

Overexerting your muscles is one of the main triggers of involuntary muscle contractions. This is why you should take a number of precautions before doing any physical activity.

  • Activate all muscle groups, especially those in the specific area that you’re working out.
  • Hydrate yourself before, during and after the activity.
  • Don’t eat heavy foods.
  • If you do eat, do it at least 2 hours before exercising.
  • Avoid drinking coffee or alcoholic beverages.

Alternatives for controlling a cramp

There are many ways to mitigate involuntary muscle contractions. Let’s show you some of the easiest and most practical ways.

Massaging the affected muscle

This is one of the most common ways of treating a cramp. This is all thanks to how easy it is to do and, above all, its great benefits.

  • To do this, it’s first necessary to get into a comfortable position, depending on where the contracted muscle is.
  • Exercise moderate force with one hand while massaging in the form of circles. This will promote blood circulation to the muscle so that it returns to a normal state.

Apply heat to the cramp

Aplicar calor sobre el 'calambre

This is also a great alternative for combatting cramps, especially when they last a long time.

We can apply heat in different ways:

  • Take a warm shower: The heat of the water on the body will be responsible for gradually dissipating the involuntary contraction. Hot water combined with steam can be very effective.
  • Hot water compresses: Soaking a compress with hot water and applying it directly to the affected area will improve the state of the muscle. If you don’t have a towel, you can use a rag or a cloth.

Drink lots of water

Since one of the main causes of cramping is dehydration, a good alternative comes straight to mind: drink more water!

This solution not only treats cramps but also prevents them.

When you get a cramp you should drink at least half a liter of water.

However, it’s necessary to know whether the muscle contraction occurred during a physical activity. If this is the case, then the cramp is directly related to body dehydration.

Issues to take into consideration

It’s important to know that it’s very common to suffer from cramps. Regardless of the discomfort muscle contractions cause in the body, they only last for 10 minutes at most.

If this isn’t the case ,then it’s advisable to visit your doctor in order to evaluate the affected muscles.

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