You’re lying in bed and you start to feel a slight twitch under your skin. Then, as if out of nowhere, the cramp strikes! Causing agonizing pain through a stiffening muscle that feels like it lasts for hours. Muscle cramps are the surprise that no one wants in their life. So, why do they happen and what can you do to limit these surprises?
Let’s start with what muscle cramps are and what causes them. When you move around or exercise, you are choosing to use your muscles and these movements cause the natural contraction and relaxation of your muscles. Muscle cramps are the involuntary and forceful contraction of your muscles that do not relax. They can affect part of a muscle, the entire muscle or numerous muscles at once and can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes.
Around 95% of the population will experience a muscle cramp at some point in their life. Muscle cramps happen because of multiple reasons. These include:
- Inadequate warm-up before training
- Inadequate cool-down after training
- Muscle injuries
- Overuse of the muscle
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Reduced blood flow
When it comes to dealing with muscle cramps, there are two things to look at. Firstly, how can you prevent muscle cramps. Secondly, what should you do if a muscle cramp does occur. Prevention is always better than cure, so let’s start here. When you think of how to prevent muscle cramps, you can link these prevention methods directly to the causes thereof.
If preventing a muscle cramp hasn’t worked and you now find yourself with a muscle cramp, there are a few strategies that you can include to help get rid of it. Increasing hydration and stretching, as well as rest, are all forms of prevention and treatment. Supplementation, including with potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as medications, including anti-hypertensives, appear to have some success (it is best to get advice from your physician regarding supplementation and medication).
Some at-home remedies can also help, though there are few studies with results. Ginger, pickle juice, and cinnamon may be beneficial. Massage techniques and forms of taping are also being utilized to treat cramps, but neither have consistent results.
Now that you know what muscle cramps are, what causes them, how to prevent them and how to treat them; it is important to look inward. To find out if your genetic profile puts you at higher risk for developing muscle cramps, make the better choice and choose FitwellgxTM+.
Stöppler, M. C. (2019, June 11). Muscle Cramps. Retrieved from Medicine Net: https://www.medicinenet.com/muscle_cramps/article.htm