Ever been stopped dead in your tracks by a charley horse? Yep, those muscle cramps that render you stunned, paralyzed & crying out “What the …. happened and where did my limbs go to?” You may even be woken at night by this sharp, sudden, involuntary painful contraction of the muscles.
Before starting and after ending your workout ensure that you stretch all your muscle groups which will reduce your chances of getting muscle cramps.
If you’ve been doing long periods of physical labour or exercise especially in the heat, overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp.
If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:
Stretch and massage. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax. For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly. If you’re unable to stand, sit on the floor or in a chair with your affected leg extended.
Try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side toward your head while your leg remains in a straightened position. This will also help ease a back thigh (hamstring) cramp. For a front thigh (quadriceps) cramp, use a chair to steady yourself and try pulling your foot on the affected side up toward your buttock.
Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles. Taking a warm bath or directing the stream of a hot shower onto the cramped muscle also can help. Alternatively, massaging the cramped muscle with ice may relieve pain.
Some medications and certain medical conditions also may cause muscle cramps. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can also contribute to leg cramps. Some suggest taking vitamin B complex supplements to help manage leg cramps.
To ensure your body need all the supplements to avoid these spasms, eat healthy food that contain all of the above and remember to hydrate more during physical activities.
When you find that cramps severe and not treatable with the normal home remedies, you may wish to consult your doctor as it could be a sign of underlying medical conditions.