Muscle cramps or Muscle spasms are a common problem which troubles everyone from an early age or in later. Even playing children get affected by it. This is nothing but just a muscles contradiction, which tightens muscles and makes it hard for some period of time. As muscles perform a movement, they alternately contract and relax with the movement of limbs back and forth. Similarly, the muscles that maintain our posture contract and relax in a synchronized fashion. A muscle which involuntarily contracts without our conscious willingness is called a “spasm.” If the spasm is forceful and sustained, it becomes a cramp. A muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax.
This is sometimes very painful and sometimes it is normal. Cramps can occur in any muscles but it is mostly found more in the calf (crossing the ankle and knee) and foot muscles. Other muscles prone to cramping include the thigh muscles, the hamstring (crossing the knee and hip), muscles of the arms and hands, and rib and abdominal muscles.
Various causes of muscle cramps are:
- Dehydration — Dehydration cause loss of water in the body which brings loss of fluid in muscles. Athletes suffer the most from this problem due to heat stroke and water loss in the body during sports.
- Muscles Fatigue — Muscles get tight during contradiction and sometimes lumps occur in muscles during cramp.
- Mineral Depletion — Deficiency of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium can cause muscle cramps in the body.
- Excess of Exercise — Excess of exercise may cause stress to the muscles which can cause muscle cramp.
- Heavy Weight — Heavyweight can bring stiffness to the body and uneasy movement of the body which eventually results in cramp in legs, hand, and back.
- Holding a position for prolonged period — Sitting in the same position for a long time also can cause leg cramp.
- Inadequate blood supply — Improper blood supply in the arteries which deliver blood to the legs also cause leg cramps.
Remedies to control muscle cramps of the legs:
- Consume more quantity of water and add some fresh juice in your regular consumption to avoid dehydration of the body.
- If muscles cramp is an often problem than use some light massage on your legs before your bedtime.
- Eat a healthy diet including all vitamins and minerals. Minerals like Calcium, Potassium, and Magnesium found in Nuts, Seeds, Veggies, dairy products, and fresh fruits should be included in our regular intake instead of tea, coffee, chocolates.
- Stressful exercises should be avoided. Instant increase in your exercising schedule should be avoided. Instead gradually increase your workout time and give your muscles relax in between.
- Sit and stand with the help of proper support if your body has more weight. An unusual movement will cause muscles cramp.
- If you are working in an office on computers, and have to sit for a long time, then you should take some break to relax your muscles, as your legs muscles in the same position can bring cramps.
- Stretch your legs before exercising. For night cramps make a few minutes cycling habit before going to sleep and after waking up.
Some of us are also suffering from Night Cramps which occurs generally before sleep or at the time of waking up. But sometimes it occurs during the night which causes awakening from sleep. It may also cause you to cry out in pain. But it can be relaxed in few minutes. Night cramps mostly occur due to magnesium deficiency. These cramps can occur in the calf muscles and in the thighs or feet.
When to see the doctor:
- If the problem is severe and almost regular than consult the doctor.
- Older people lose muscle mass so remaining muscles can get over-stressed.
- Muscle cramp occurs in pregnancy due to magnesium deficiency. Better to take your doctor’s advice and start medication.
- Persons suffering from diabetes, kidney infection, liver or thyroid disorders may cause cramps.