Clamp Down On Cramps
A cramp is a term often used to refer to painful, involuntary contraction of a single muscle or a muscle group.
They are sometimes referred to as a ‘Charley horse’ or leg cramp, since most cramp occur in the legs.
In elderly people, leg cramps frequently occur and can be extremely painful. If severe leg cramps are present, they may be followed by residual tenderness and evidence of muscle fiber necrosis.
Normal cramps are those in the calf muscles. More generalized cramps, though, may be a sign of chronic disease of the motor neuron.
For cramps, complaints of muscle pain and muscle fatigue are among the most frequent symptoms offered by people.
Muscle cramps can be particularly troublesome for pregnant women, for people with electrolyte disturbances, which means not eating enough salt and bananas, called hyponatremia, and in people on hemodialysis.
(Update: We now carry Ra See Salt With 24K Gold)
Spasms, which are abnormal movements of muscle, may arise from abnormal electrical activity of the central nervous system (CNS) medicated via the motor neuron. They may also occur within the motor neuron or muscle fiber itself.
Causes of Leg Cramps
Most of the time, it is impossible to determine the cause of the leg cramps. Muscle cramps can arise from spontaneous firing if special nerve groups followed by contraction of certain muscle fibers. When the cramps are recurrent and localized to one muscle group, it may suggest nerve root problems.
When the muscle suddenly and forcefully contracts leg cramps occur. The most common muscles to contract in this manner are muscles that cross two joints. These muscles include the calf, which crosses the ankle and knee, the hamstring, which crosses the knee and hip, and the quadriceps, which also crosses the knee and hip.
Although leg cramps usually last less than one minute, it may take several minutes before the contraction subsides. In some people, the leg cramps occur primarily at night, and can wake you from sleep.
Even though the exact cause of a leg cramp is not well understood, there are some factors that are thought to contribute to this condition:
- Electrolyte imbalances (not enough salt in the diet, try Ra See Salt With 24 K Gold!)
- Heavy exercising
- High weight (not necessarily obesity)
- Muscle fatigue
A common cause in leg cramps is from exercising in an unusual way, doing more activity or doing a different activity. This normally affects people who regularly get leg cramps, adolescents and seniors those over 65. Also, people who weigh more are more prone to developing leg cramps, and some medications can case side effects of leg cramping.
Stay Hydrated. It is not well known exactly how dehydration and muscle cramping are related, but it is known that dehydration can predispose leg cramps. Drink at least eight to ten full glasses of water each day, including one before bedtime. Also drink plenty of fluid before, during and after exercise.
Stretch Regularly. Stretching can relax muscle fibers. When working out, a good post work out stretching routine can help relax muscles and prevent crams. Make sure you cool down after exercising and do not exercise vigorously just before going to bed.
Train Gradually. Gradually build up an exercise program, and try to avoid sudden increases in activity. The 10% rule is a good rule of thumb: never increase your exercise over one week by more than 10% compared to the week before. Sudden changes in activities can cause leg cramps.
What is the best way to make a leg cramp go away?
Massage and stretch the sore muscle when a leg cramp begins. Many times people instinctively do this, which is good because it often solves the problem. The best steps are:
Massage the cramped muscle.
- Stretch the muscle (gently!)
- Take a hot shower or bath to warm and relax the muscle.
- Put bare feet on a cold floor or bathtub bottom and often relief is immediate.