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Simple Solutions: How To Prevent And Get Rid Of Cramps

Simple Solutions: How To Prevent And Get Rid Of Cramps

Cramps can be experienced regularly or at a given time. When they come they can be fleeting but extremely painful. and if it comes on a daily or monthly basis, it can even lower a person’s well-being and quality of everyday life.

Night cramps can be particularly painful and can disrupt our sleeping patterns if experienced on a regular basis. And for many women, menstrual cramps can be a huge burden on a monthly basis.

If you want to get rid of cramps then find out what exactly causes cramps and how you can effectively relieve them and prevent them from occurring.

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What Are Cramps and What Causes Them?

Most commonly, cramps can be a result of electrolyte imbalance due to the lack of fluid in your system. They most commonly come about if you’ve overexerted your muscles or suffer from general dehydration. When dehydration occurs, the electrolytes suffer and the minerals that make up the electrolytes, sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium, diminish rapidly and an imbalance occurs. Since electrolytes are essential for healthy cell function, these also help with the optimum function of our muscles.

We can also get cramps from long periods of inactivity like sitting down without moving for a long time. Certain medications can make us prone to experiencing cramps so check with your doctor if you are on long-term medication and get cramps on a regular basis.

Cramps can potentially occur in every muscle in the body but they most commonly happen in the calves, feet and thighs.

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What Are The Different Types of Cramp?

  • True Cramps – these are the most common types of cramps which we have all probably suffered from one time or another. These usually involve part or all of a single muscle or a group of muscles that generally act together and are thought to be affected by the nerves that stimulate the muscles.
  • Dysmenorrhea  – these are also known as menstrual cramps. They are a result of the uterus (a muscle itself) contracting and if this happens too strongly the oxygen supply is cut off to the muscle tissue and pain ensues.
  • Injury Cramps – if the body has experienced an injury then the muscle tries to protect it by spasming in an attempt to stabilise the injured area.
  • Rest Cramps – these happen with a long period of inactivity and can sometimes happen at night known as night cramps.
  • Dystonic Cramps – these types of cramps occur when there is repetitive movement in one area such as in the hands when we write for too long.

How To Get Rid of Cramps

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    There are various ways you can help get rid of cramps. When experiencing a cramp it can be quite debilitating and you usually have to stop what you’re doing suddenly.

    Stretching is the number one way to help relieve the pain and longevity of a true cramp. This can simply involve walking around if it occurs in the leg or foot area. For calf cramps you can gently stretch the leg by facing a wall and hold both hands out bending the unaffected leg with the affected leg stretched out behind.

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    If you do regular exercise such as running, it’s a great practice to make sure you stretch out before and after to prevent cramps caused by the vigorous exercise.

    If you suffer from night cramps then doing evening stretches in your legs before going to bed will help prevent painful night cramps from occurring.

    Massaging is another great and effective way to relieve the symptoms of cramp. Relaxing the muscle through gentle massage will help the pain cease quite quickly.

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    Applying heat in the form of a heated pad or hot water bottle will further relax the muscle and calm down the spasming. This is particularly helpful in menstrual cramping. A hot shower will also be effective making sure the cramping area is focused on.

    How To Prevent Cramps

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      • Leg exercises can help when you find yourself sitting for long periods of time. Doing ankle flexes will allow the oxygen to flow up the legs and to the muscle tissues. If possible make sure you take breaks and walk around.
      • Hydration is really important if you suffer from cramps regularly. It could be a case of keeping yourself hydrated to keep the cramps away especially if you exercise. Some sports drinks contain added electrolytes that could help replenish the lost electrolytes through sweating.
      • Vitamin supplements may be beneficial if you suffer from cramps due to pregnancy. Adequate intakes of calcium and magnesium can help to relieve cramping when pregnant but make sure you consult your doctor before taking anything. Calcium and magnesium intake can also help with night cramps.
      • Footwear is another factor to think about if you suffer from cramps regularly. Make sure you wear comfortable cushioned shoes with a good arch support. This will help support the rest of the muscles in your leg and prevent injuries to the foot.
      • Pillows are great if you place them under your knees while in bed. This will help prevent night cramps by elevating the blood flow to the muscles.

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      Jenny Marchal

      A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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      Published on November 21, 2019

      7 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout

      7 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout

      Maybe you like going on walks in your neighborhood or hiking in the park, taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Or, perhaps you like to push yourself with spin classes and work up a real sweat. It could be that basketball at a local recreation league is your thing. And even though you enjoy these activities and you like the way you feel when you are doing them, somehow lately, you haven’t been able to muster up the energy to participate.

      There’s a “catch-22” that often happens when you’re wanting to work out, but you are not in the mood. Working out will boost your mood[1] and make you feel better, but because of your current mood, you don’t want to work out. Does this conundrum sound familiar?

      Anyone can get stuck in this rut from time to time. It could be that work has been taking too much out of you, or your family and personal commitments are eating up a lot of your time and energy. You’ve got to find a way to break out of this cycle. Getting your groove back requires finding a way to getting back to working out; you need a way to get started again.

      How can you get started? Use one of the following hacks to get you back on track. Find one or two of the ideas on this list that speak to you and that you think you can easily implement. Once you get your workout mojo back, you’ll be surprised at not only how much better you can feel in a short amount of time, but how much better everything will seem.

      Here are 7 ways to motivate yourself to work out:

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      1. Don’t Get Sucked into the Black Hole of the Couch

      As soon as you come in the door from work, get your workout clothes on and hit the door. If you sit down on the comfy sofa, it will take more fortitude to get yourself going. Think of your sofa as quicksand and don’t get pulled into the trap.

      It’s a simple law of physics — Newton’s first law:[2] an object at rest tends to stay at rest; an object in motion tends to stay in motion. You can come nestle into the comfy couch after your workout. But first, while you’re in motion from your day, stay in motion and your get your workout in.

      2. Find an Accountability Partner

      Studies show that having an accountability partner greatly increases your exercise frequency and success.[3] Talk to some of your friends and find someone who is interested in your same schedule. Maybe you have a friend who would love to hike early morning before work, or maybe you know someone that would like to hit a dance class right after work ends. Knowing that you have to meet someone else will make you think twice about blowing off your workout.

      You don’t have to have all your workouts include your partner, but even if you meet this person once a week, that will give you a boost to want to keep your workout going on other days. If you really feel that you need an accountability partner all the time, then find 2-3 people and meet them 2-3 times a week.

      One caveat: if your accountability partner cancels on you, be prepared for that and keep to your schedule. Everyone has things come up every now and then, but if you find your partner is frequently trying to cancel or reschedule, you probably need to find a new partner.

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      3. Or, Make Yourself an Accountability Partner

      Commit to 30 days of an exercise plan. Look at your calendar and plan out which days and times you are going to work out, including what that workout will be. Allow yourself two “do-overs” for random life events or illness, but only two.

      For example, let’s say you have on your calendar that you are going to go to a spin class after work on a Tuesday, but a family member calls whose car broke down and you have to go assist. You will rearrange that date of your spin class and find a different date to put it on the calendar, but you only want to do that for necessary external life events. Hitting the snooze button because you woke up too tired isn’t a good excuse.

      If you can stick to 30 days of this plan, it should feel more like a habit and be simpler going forward as you reap the benefits of feeling better, mood boost, and more energy.

      4. Integrate Some Mini-Movement into Your Day

      If you go into work and sit at a desk most of the day, it will feel good to get out and move your muscles afterwards. But sometimes it seems difficult to get out of that sedentary rut. One solution is staying in touch with your body all throughout the day.

      Set a few timers on your phone during the day, and when they go off, take a few minutes to do different physical movements. Stretching, doing forward bends or side bends are some ideas. You can stand against the wall and “peel” off of it, feeling each vertebra and releasing your lower back.Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes around. Do calf raises, standing up and lifting your heels up and down.

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      These small movements done 2-3 times throughout your workday may seem insignificant, but they will keep your attuned to your physical self a bit more, so that you will be more motivated to have some bigger, longer, “real” workout sessions. Think of them as appetizers and your workout is the big meal.

      5. Eat Something Fresh

      Speaking of big meal, what we eat and drink is related to how we feel. So if you’re not eating particularly well these days, commit to at least eating one fresh item daily. Maybe you have an apple as an afternoon snack. Perhaps you fix a nice salad to go along with your dinner.

      Sometimes, we’re so busy on the run that we don’t realize we’ve not been eating as fresh as we’d like. By making the conscious choice to seek out some fresh food, you’re taking care of yourself which in turn will make you think about those same kinds of choices when it comes to exercise. Another benefit is that if you’re eating well, you may feel “lighter” and have more energy to work out.

      6. Create an Alter Ego

      It may sound kind of crazy at first, but employing the use of an alter ego can be a great way to break out of a habit or create some life changes you desire. In his book The Alter Ego Effect, Todd Herman illustrates how an Alter Ego is a mental trick to improve your life. Many famous entertainers have used alter egos to overcome stage fright.

      How could this work for you? You may be too tired to work out at the end of the day, but your alter ego isn’t. Let’s say you create a character named “Ironman.” Sure, when you come in from a long day at work, you can talk yourself into wanting to relax on the couch. But Ironman doesn’t feel that way — he’s ready to throw on his sneakers and go for a run!

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      7. Water, Water Everywhere

      Sometimes the simplest rules are the most important. We all know we are supposed to be hydrated throughout the day. But if you’re busy all day at work, and you’ve nursed a big tumbler of coffee all morning, suddenly it might be early afternoon and you realize you haven’t had any water today.

      Drinking water boosts mood and decreases fatigue.[4] These two factors will help you in your quest to find the motivation for your workout.

      Make sure you’re getting your water intake all throughout the day, and if you’ve had coffee, drink some extra water to counteract the dehydrating effect of it.

      Final Thoughts

      So, how are you planning to get going this week? Go pour yourself a big glass of water, get out your calendar, and think about what types of workouts you want to do.

      Whether you call a friend and ask him/her to be an accountability partner, or whether you sketch out an alter ego for yourself so you can harness your power, you can use a hack to get you back on the track of being motivated to work out.

      You know how good you feel when you do, so give yourself that gift. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow — go get your sneakers on!

      Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

      Reference

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