A muscle cramp is an involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. Muscle groups may be affected by these contractions, which are often unpleasant. For example, the muscles in your lower leg’s back, your thigh’s rear, and your front thigh often experience cramps.
The most common sign of a muscle cramp is a sudden, acute pain lasting for a few seconds to 15 minutes. A cramp may sometimes accompany a bulging mass of muscular tissue under the skin.
The causes of cramps during or right after exercise are still unknown, even though some instances can be due to water and salt balance issues. Weary or overworked muscles are more likely to experience exercise-induced cramps.
Muscle fatigue and how it can impact how our nerves regulate muscle contractions are to blame for these cramps. In contrast, others seem to involve persistent abnormal spinal reflex activity brought on by fatigue of the affected muscles.
Muscle cramps are usually harmless and don’t need medical care. However, if your muscular cramps are severe, last for a long time, or don’t go away with stretching, you should consult a doctor.
It could be a symptom of a deeper medical issue. A blood test may also be necessary to assess your kidney and thyroid function, blood calcium and potassium levels, and blood calcium levels. Your physician might recommend electromyography (EMG). This test monitors muscular activity and looks for anomalies in the muscles.
An MRI scan could also be beneficial. An image of your spinal cord is produced with this imaging device. Occasionally, a myelogram, also known as myelography, or another imaging test, may be beneficial. Tell your doctor if you feel weak, in pain, or lose sensation. These indicators of a nerve problem may be present.
If you start to feel a muscle cramp, you can use a hot or cold compress to relieve the pain. You can also reduce the pain by stretching the muscle. For example, if your calf muscle is cramping, you can pull your foot up with your hand to stretch the muscle.
Try taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen if your pain doesn’t disappear. However, your sleep may be disturbed because of muscle cramping. Consult your doctor regarding a prescription muscle relaxant if this occurs.
According to studies, relaxants relieve muscle tension and reduce spasms. You can reduce spasticity and improve symptoms by addressing the underlying cause of muscle cramping. For instance, if low calcium or potassium levels are causing cramping, your doctor may suggest supplements containing potassium and calcium.
Ways to Avoid Muscle Cramps
Maintaining proper hydration is vital while working out. Drinking adequate amounts of water before, during, and after exercise, especially if it’s hot outside.
Decide the amounts of water to be consumed by taking a look at the colour of your urine. You can tell if you’re sufficiently hydrated by the colour of your urine.
You may lose electrolytes such as sodium (salt) if you sweat excessively during exercise. It could potentially cause cramping, although it is not known for sure.
If you are planning to exercise for an hour or more in a warm environment, it might be beneficial to replenish any lost sodium. Both store-bought sports beverages and homemade ones are acceptable options. If you work out in a moderate amount, you probably will not need them.
Stretch and Warm-up
Do a gentle warm-up before beginning any vigorous exercise. Warming up and stretching your muscles frequently lowers your risk of cramping.
In addition, maintaining your overall fitness level and ensuring you are physically prepared before a significant sporting event is also beneficial.
It is vital to have a balanced diet that includes enough carbohydrates if you exercise. It can help prevent muscular weakness, which can lead to cramps.
If you are a trainee athlete, consulting an expert in sports nutrition may be helpful. In addition, you can talk to experts at HealthifyMe to plan a customised meal plan.
The HealthifyMe Note
Exercise-related muscle cramps can occur during a variety of sports and physical activity activities. Muscle spasms can start at any time and have a wide range of intensity and duration. Adding salt to swallowed fluids reduces the chance of spontaneous muscle cramping, which occurs in occupational contexts involving strenuous physical exertion, high ambient temperature, significant sweat losses, and consuming large amounts of plain water.
Although muscle cramps are not a severe health threat, they can be inconvenient and make it difficult to continue with daily activities.
Taking a few basic steps, such as warming up and eating a healthy diet, can help to ease the muscles. If you experience long-term muscle pain, you should consult a doctor.