Muscle cramps typically occur after engaging in a strenuous exercise. Other reasons can be a deficiency of certain nutrients like magnesium or potassium in your diet or diseases like osteoporosis, arthritis, etc. Sitting in a position for too long (eg: driving, typing in a computer) can again affect your muscles. Older age, pregnancy and obesity can be a trigger for these cramps to occur too.
Cramps can last from seconds to minutes. The severity of pain might also vary from mild to severe.
- Muscular cramps are often characterized by mild to excruciating pain in a muscle especially the calf region.
- There can also be a twitching sensation experienced.
- Muscle cramps might also be accompanied by other symptoms like numbness or muscular fatigue.
What can you do?
- Keep yourself hydrated: Don’t forget to drink water! Water helps the muscles to contract and relax properly. Ensure that before and after exercise you consume fluids. Loss of water and electrolytes often occur through sweat and perspiration which can yet again trigger muscle cramps.
- Heat/ cold therapy: Using a heating pad or application of a warm towel to the affected area can help relax your muscles and soothe the pain. A warm bath can also increase blood flow to the muscles and reduce fatigue. The application of cold bags/ cold packs to the affected area can also help.
- Massage: Gently massaging the affected area can relieve the tension of the muscles and help to relax a bit.
- Stretch yourself: Stretching yourself before going to bed or after experiencing cramps can reduce muscular contraction. Careers associated with sitting in a constant position like driving, computer work can increase the risks for muscle cramps. Hence it is important to stretch yourself once in a while.
- Warm-up before exercise: It is important to warm up before beginning with an exercise. Warming up helps increase blood flow to your muscles and reduces the risk of a potential injury. It also prepares of our body for strenuous physical activities to come.
- Take care of your diet: Deficiency of certain nutrients like Calcium, potassium, vitamin D might also be the cause of those nasty cramps. Hence ensure that their nutrient requirements are met in your diet.