Muscle cramps: What You Should Know?
Muscle cramps: What You Should Know?
Excruciating Pain under the skin. These are just some of the words used to describe muscle cramps.
These involuntary contractions can awaken you from a good sleep, stop you during a workout, or interrupt your much-needed rest. Most of us have experienced muscle cramps at some point.
Cramps can occur in every muscle of your body. Skeletal muscle cramps happen when individual muscle fibers or an entire group of muscles get twitched or spasm. The intense contraction is a cramp if the spasm does not release and relax.
People who suffer from muscle cramps may feel cramping pain for a few seconds or may have to endure the Pain for 15 minutes or longer. Some muscles contract so hard during the cramp that the sufferer experiences muscle soreness after the experience. Contact Dr.Nataraj H M, an Orthopedic doctor and the Best Knee and Shoulder Specialist in Bangalore.
What causes muscle cramps?
Some of the most common triggers include:
- Injury. Cramps may be the body’s protective response to an injury. While uncomfortable, your body may use a muscle spasm to decrease movement and stabilize the injured area.
- Physical Activity. People are more likely to experience cramps after an intense workout or a hard day of physical work. Working a muscle until it reaches fatigue can often lead to a cramp during the movement, after the activity stops, or later that same day.
- Inactivity. Cramps may occur when a person stays in the same position for a long time. An individual sitting all day may experience cramps with certain movements.
- Repetitive Movements. Some Activities require hours of practice using the same muscle groups repeatedly. These repetitive movements can cause muscle cramps.
- Rest or nocturnal cramps—Sometimes relaxation triggers cramps. Night cramps, also called nocturnal cramps, are painful. They may interrupt a person’s sleep several times in one night.
- Dehydration. People sweat and lose fluids when they exercise, work out, or participate in sports if their bodies become dehydrated and the risk of muscle cramps increases.
- Medications. Some medicines, such as diuretic medications, can lead to dehydration and a loss of sodium; such situations increase the risk of muscle cramps.
- Nutritional Deficiencies. When calcium or magnesium in the blood may drop to too low levels, the risk of muscle cramps increases. The nerve endings controlling the muscles become more sensitive and may cause the muscles to contract involuntarily.
- Lack of Ergonomics. Working in an environment that requires people to use poor posture or bend and move in strange ways can cause muscle stress and strain.
How are muscle cramps treated?
Fortunately, most cramps go away on their own.
Most people who experience cramps will instinctively rub and attempt to stretch their tightened muscles. If the cramping is prolonged, applying a warm washcloth or a hot water bottle may help loosen the muscle.
If the cramp occurs during an activity, stop the activity, and allow the muscle to recover. It may relieve the cramping sensation.
Take steps to prevent muscle cramps.
If you are prone to muscle cramps, arm yourself with information to determine what foods and activities may trigger them. You can take a few proactive and preventive actions to control your risk.
- Keep a journal of the foods you eat and your activities. Monitor the time and date when your cramps occurred. It helps you find an association between your activities and your risk of cramps.
- Talk to your pharmacist about the medications and supplements you take.
- Talk to your doctor about magnesium and calcium supplements.
- Stay hydrated.
- Stretch your muscles—especially the large muscle groups in your legs.
Call Dr. Nataraj H M, an Orthopedic doctor and the Best Knee and Shoulder Specialist in Bangalore. If your cramps become more frequent, increase in severity, or are unrelated to activity. This may be an indication of a serious health condition.