Muscle cramps can happen anytime and anywhere, during a walk, after working in the garden. The muscle contract with great force and stays this way, most often for about a minute, before relaxing. Muscle cramps occur mostly in the legs, often after exercise in the heat or when a limb is stuck in an awkward position for a long time.
They may also result from an imbalance in minerals and fluids caused by dehydration. Abdominal cramps may be caused by lower back problems or menstruation. Medical conditions such as parkinson’s disease, untreated thyroid problems or diabetes also can lead to cramps. Muscle cramps are not that serious, whereas heat cramps could be a signal for heat exhaustion that might lead to dizziness or confusion, they can signal the onset of heatstroke, which can be fatal.
Symptoms of Muscle Cramps:
- Sharp pain and sudden tightening of muscles
- A muscles when touched seems hard
- Twitching of muscles
- Heat cramps: severe spasms in arms that occurs suddenly, abdominal muscles and sometimes legs too
Prevention for Muscle Cramps:
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water everyday
- Stretch often, and especially before bed
- Warm up and stretch before exercising
- To prevent heat cramps in hot weather drink a small glass of cool water before and after exercise
- Take 400 IU of vitamin E daily and eat foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, to prevent muscle cramps.
Home remedies for Muscle Cramps:
Popular home remedies for muscle cramps are:
- Stretch for calf muscles, stand a little away from the wall, put your forearms and the hands against it. Put feet flat on floor and put your right foot forward with leg bent, and extend your left leg behind you. Move your hips towards the wall until you fell the stretch in the calf. Hold like that for 10 to 20 seconds
- Massage. Start from the edges of cramp and then move towards center, squeez the muscle gently and pain would be eased
- For stubborn cramp, area where cramp has happened could be immersed in water that is warm and muscle should be massaged and stretched at the same time
- For menstrual cramps, warm water baths are beneficial or putting heating pad or bottle with hot water on abdomen also helps. Try ibuprofen to ease pain
- Hold each stretch briefly, then release. Never stretch to the point of pain
Identifying the need of Doctor
- If you have severe cramping pain in chest arms or shoulders then it might be heart attack. Do not ignore it and get immediate doctor’s help
- If you have heat cramps with dizziness or confusion
- If cramps are long lasting or frequent