Health Facts

Cramps – Causes and Remedies

Cramps – Causes and Remedies

Have you ever encountered a sudden sharp pain in your calf halfway when playing sports or even worse when you are sleeping? You know for a fact that it is cramp and at times, it is just difficult to figure out what to do. Cramps are very common and it happens all the time among pregnant women.

One thing for sure, cramps (or sometimes called muscle spasms) do not only happen to athletes. It can happen to anyone.

What actually happens?

Spasms occur involuntarily. This means that it can attack anytime without your knowledge and at times, you are not even ready for it. It can be mild but at times can be quite painful. This happens when your muscle contracts which can occur ranging from seconds to minutes.

Why does it happen?
While there are no concrete findings of why spasms occur, conclusions have been made to point to dehydration, altered metabolism of electrolytes and changes in your neuromuscular control. In a lot of cases, cramps can happen in hot weather especially when your body is sweating more than the usual.

Meanwhile, there has been substantial findings that magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium deficiencies could lead to muscle spasms or cramps as well although it is not the sole reason. This is because magnesium is a crucial agent which helps in the metabolism of fat, proteins and carbohydrates while involved in stimulating the muscles and your nervous system.

The calf and thigh areas are the most common places that cramps can occur and is not known to happen in the upper torso. In most cases, it is not a serious threat and would fade away after a while.

Preventing its occurrence
As mentioned previously, dehydration could lead to cramps. This is the reason why the problem often occur among athletes who loses a lot of water during sports and workout. To avoid this, you should drink oligomineral water that supplies your body with electrolytes. Isotonic drinks are good as well although you should reduce on excessive carbonated liquid.

How to overcome cramps?
Stretching is the best way to overcome this problem. That is why you are always trained to ‘warm up’ before playing sports. If it happens during your session, stop what you are doing and stretch that part as far as possible. Do this until the spasm fades away. Then massage that area (with a sports muscle cream) and it should be totally gone. You can resume your game after that.