Muscle cramps – scientifically muscle spasms – is something that almost everyone has suffered at some time in our lives. What exactly are they? What are the causes? Can they be prevented?
Muscle spasms are brief and involuntary contractions of a muscle. This contraction produces stiffness in the muscle, causing its immobilization for a few seconds. The consequence is a sudden pain, intense in some cases, and always unpleasant.
Through this article, we will try to get closer to this problem to know it and know how to act in front of it.
Muscle cramps, what are they?
The duration of the cramp is about a minute or two, although the pain may take a few seconds to disappear until the muscle relaxes. If the pain is severe or does not go away, the cramps often occur or are accompanied by other symptoms such as redness or swelling, it is important to see a specialist make a proper diagnosis.
On the other hand, cramps can occur in any part of the body, although the most common is that they appear in the muscles of the hands, feet and especially legs.
Muscle spasms can occur at any time of the day, even at night while we sleep. It can happen to anyone, although there are two population centers that are more likely to suffer from them :
- Athletes, as they undergo prolonged workouts.
- The elderly, due to muscular atrophy (progressive weakening of the muscles).
Muscle cramps or spasms are something that almost everyone suffers at some time in our lives, and we should not give it too much importance. Although later we will see that we can implement some natural remedies for when it happens and try to prevent them.
Causes of muscle cramps
As indicated by Medline Plus professionals, the causes of muscle spasms can be multiple: it may be because the muscle is injured or overloaded, or a lack of minerals and vitamins. They may also be due to dehydration.
The lack of fluids is another cause. It is very common, due to the training we do during which we do not drink enough fluids, producing dehydration in our body.
Performing some unusual or intense movement can also cause a cramp. In contrast, being in the same position for a long time without moving and a sedentary lifestyle also causes cramping.
Depending on the area of the body where we suffer the cramp, the causes may be different. For example:
- Neck cramps are usually a manifestation of stress.
- In the upper part of the legs they appear normally when we perform activities such as running and jumping.
- In the calves, very common while we sleep, they usually also occur when we swim.
Prevention of muscle cramps
Some professionals indicate simple guidelines to prevent muscle spasms easily:
- Perform physical exercise of mild intensity daily. For example, walk for half an hour, so that the muscles are not rigid.
- Perform stretching to improve flexibility and avoid stiffness.
- Drink plenty of fluids during physical exercise.
- Maintain a balanced diet, rich in minerals and vitamins: natural vegetables and fruits.
- Adopt relaxed and comfortable postures in bed to sleep
Remedies before the appearance of a cramp
When a cramp appears, we can remedy it and try to soften the pain by following these simple tips:
- Keep the area at rest, without exposing it to more movements, and wait patiently without getting nervous.
- Massage gently in the opposite direction to the course of pain, to achieve muscle relaxation.
- Apply heat to the painful area.
- Place a bandage around the cramped area to reduce pain. Do not tighten it too much so that swelling does not occur.
But remember, if the problem continues we should see a specialist since the cramps could be a symptom of a more serious problem.