A cramp happens when a muscle involuntarily and suddenly contracts on its own and usually these are quite painful. Cramps most often occur in the legs, arms, hands, feet, and abdominal wall. More often then not cramps are harmless muscle spasms, but what causes them?
Causes of muscle cramps
Cramps occur as the result of multiple things. Dehydration, muscle injuries, poor circulation, and being active on a hot day can cause cramps. Cramps can also be the result of some medications.
Minerals (such as calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium) help with healthy muscle functions, so it’s important to make sure you are getting enough of these minerals in your diet.
According to the experts at House Call Doctor, medical conditions such as alcoholism, age, pregnancy, kidney failure, hypothyroidism, low thyroid gland function, diabetes, and compression of the spinal nerve are common causes of cramps.
Typically, cramps will disappear on their own – but there are a few pain relief methods that you can try to reduce the pain.
You can use a hot or cold compress on your sore muscles to reduce the pain from cramps.
Stretching the affected muscles can also help assist to ease the pain.
You can also try non-prescription anti-inflammatory medication from your local pharmacy.
If your regularly suffering from cramps, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor as this can be a sign on an underlying medical condition.
- Warm up and stretching before exercise can help to prevent muscle strain and injury;
- Don’t exercise immediately after eating;
- Reduce your intake of food and drinks that contain caffeine such as chocolate and coffee;
- Drink plenty of water to replace the water you will lose while exercising;
- Make sure you get enough calcium and potassium, which can be found in a variety of foods including milk and bananas.