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Muscle Cramps Don’t Come from Nowhere. It Happens for A Reason

Muscle Cramps Don’t Come from Nowhere. It Happens for A Reason

As anyone who suffers from them will know, muscle cramps can cause a huge amount of discomfort and pain. This is why so many people are keen to find out how to prevent cramps. Muscle cramps often strike with no warning at all. It could be while you are working out, while you are walking, or while you are relaxing.

There are various possible causes of muscle cramps, and familiarizing yourself with these will help you when it comes to prevention. A lot of research has been carried out into the causes and treatment of muscle cramps. This has enabled medics and researchers to find solutions that can help with the prevention of these cramps.

Muscle Cramps Can Strike at The Most Unexpected Time

Muscle cramps can cause a lot of issues for sufferers. They can be very debilitating and in some cases can even pose a hazard. For example, you may be driving when these cramps strike, and if they affect your leg muscles your driving will naturally be affected. They can strike at night, which can cause issues with sleeping. They could even strike at work, which could pose another hazard depending on the type of work you do.

Muscle Cramps = Uncontrolled Contraction of Muscles

We need to learn how to tackle issues such as muscle cramps ourselves. To do this, it is important to have a better understanding of why muscle cramps occur and what might be causing them.

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In a nutshell, muscle cramps are caused through the involuntary contraction of muscles. They usually affect the calf muscles but they can strike elsewhere too. You may have heard these cramps referred to as ‘charley horses’.

You will know when you experience a muscle cramp, as the muscles in the affected area become very tight, hard, and painful. You will actually be able to feel the spasms and the speed with which these cramps can strike can come as quite a shock. If you are a keen exerciser, you should bear in mind that cramps can occur many hours after exercising.

Muscle Cramps Are Caused by Multiple Reasons

There are a number of possible causes of muscle cramps, and it is important to familiarize yourself with these if you want to know how to prevent cramps. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you may be experiencing cramps:

  • Lack of circulation in the legs
  • Exercising calf muscles too hard [1]
  • Failing to stretch and warm up before exercising
  • Being too active when temperatures are high
  • Being dehydrated
  • Muscle fatigue
  • A deficiency of magnesium, potassium, or both
  • An underlying cause such as a spinal issue or nerve problem
  • A side effect of taking certain medications

Interestingly, muscle cramps are very common but they are most common at night when you are sleeping. According to reports, 75 percent of muscle cramps are experienced at night. By familiarizing yourself with the possible causes, you can take certain steps to prevent muscle cramps. This could include drinking more water, warming up before exercises, and putting less strain on the muscles.

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When Muscle Cramps Strike, These Easy Exercises Help

One of the things you will be keen to learn if you suffer from muscle cramps is how to treat them. Of course, prevention is the best medicine, and this is something we will look at. However, if you are suffering from muscle cramps the first thing you need to know is what action you can take to treat them and alleviate the pain. Below are some of the key solutions for treating muscle cramps:

Do some stretching

When you get muscle cramps, your muscle goes into involuntary spasms. This causes a lot of tightening, discomfort, and strain. When these cramps strike, you can try stretching the area. Simply drop and stretch the affected area to try and alleviate the cramps. Better still, if there is someone there with you it is worth getting the area massaged. This can help to quickly alleviate the spasms and discomfort.

Try to relax

It is natural when muscle spasms strike to try and push through the pain. However, this can often make the problem worse. Instead, try to relax and let the pain ease away. Simply take a break and wait for the spasm to pass rather than to risk making it worse by battling with it.

Speak to your pharmacy

You may find that anti-inflammatory treatments can help to tackle muscle spasms [2] . It is therefore worth taking a quick trip to the pharmacy to see if they can recommend anything. Some of the treatments available over the counter at pharmacies can help to ease the soreness that stems from muscle cramps.

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These are some of the simple but effective ways in which you can quickly treat muscle cramps and alleviate some of the symptoms.

How to Prevent Future Muscle Cramps 

Of course, one thing that is very important is learning how to prevent muscle cramps on a long-term basis. To do this, you need to look at the possible causes of these cramps. You can then reduce the risk of them occurring by taking certain steps. Some of the key steps you can take include:

Drink plenty of water

Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, so you need to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.

Take vitamins

Deficiencies such as magnesium and potassium can increase the chances of muscle cramps. Taking vitamins can help to combat this possible cause.

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Make sure you stretch

Always make sure you do some stretching exercises before and after working out, as this can help prevent muscle cramps.

Eat the right food

As mentioned before, certain deficiencies can heighten the risk of cramps. Therefore eat foods that are rich in nutrients like potassium, such as bananas. Also foods that are rich in magnesium and calcium can help.

Limit alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, which in turn can lead to muscle cramps. You should therefore limit your alcohol intake – this will also benefit your health in other ways.

As you can see, there are various ways in which you can treat and prevent muscle cramps. Many of these are lifestyle changes while others are short term measures to provide immediate relief. By keeping the causes of muscle cramps in mind, you can more easily treat and prevent them

Reference

[1] The National Center of Biotechnology Information: Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps
[2] WebMD: Drugs & Medications Search

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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