A muscle cramp is an extremely uncomfortable and painful encounter. They happen when either one or multiple muscles contract involuntarily. There are many reasons you may be experiencing muscle cramps. Exercise, diet, the weather, some medications, age, medical conditions, pregnancy and dehydration are just some of the causes. Even though they are considered harmless in the majority of cases, the muscle that has gone through the cramp is usually out of use for a temporary amount of time. If you suffer from muscle cramps on a regular basis and they are having a negative impact on your life, then you should definitely consider trying some of the preventative methods to help lessen how frequently they occur or to stop them completely. Here are five tips to help you deal with muscle cramps.
Stretching your muscles for a lengthy period of time before and after you’ve used them will help to reduce the risk of them cramping up. If you are someone who usually experiences leg cramps during the night, then you should stretch before you sleep. You could also try a light exercise, for example, riding an exercise bike for a few minutes before you go to bed could also help with cramp prevention while you sleep.
Plenty of Minerals
If you don’t have enough calcium, magnesium or potassium in your diet, then this could be one of the reasons you’re getting muscle cramps. Certain medications can actually deplete these vital minerals. Diuretics (usually prescribed medication to help with hypertension) are known to do this. To help reduce cramps caused by a lack of these important minerals in your system, then you should consider taking supplements. VitaMonk’s guide provides great methods on how to make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of magnesium into your diet (based on new research), as well as providing various mineral supplements.
Painkillers and Quinine
Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help decrease the pain after a cramping episode. Then there is quinine, which can help reduce how frequent your muscle cramps occur. This medication was originally created for the treatment of malaria. There is a range of unpleasant side effects from taking quinine. It is a prescribed medication so you will only be able to get hold of it if your doctor thinks the benefits of this medication outweigh the risks.
Making sure you drink enough is very important for your health in general. The volume of liquids you need will depend on your diet, sex, activity level, age, health, whether you take medication and what climate you live in. However, the general rule is to drink 6-8 glasses a day. Having enough fluids in your system will help with muscle contraction and relaxations as it keeps the muscle cells hydrated and therefore less irritated. When you are active, you should aim to replenish fluids regularly and you should continue this after you’ve finished.
Before bed, you should do stretching exercises. When you sleep, try lying on your back with your toes pointing upwards. Putting an upright pillow at the end of your bed and leaning your feet against it can help keep them in this position. If you struggle to sleep on your back, then you could try lying on your front with your feet hanging over the edge of the bed. Sleeping in these positions will reduce the contraction of your calf muscles. You should also keep your blankets and sheets loose.
Hopefully these methods will help to reduce how regularly you experience muscle cramps. They do usually disappear with time and it is rare to require medical care. However, if you are experiencing frequent and extreme discomfort and self-care isn’t improving them, then you should definitely seek professional advice from your doctor.