Monday, February 7, 2011

Muscle Cramps and How to Treat Them

Do you ever get muscle cramps during Pilates class, running, or other forms of exercise? gives a great explanation of why our muscles cramp and how to treat them with the following article!  Reasons include overuse and dehydration, and suggestions for treatment include stretching, massage, and icing the affected area.  Drinking fluids to hydrate the muscles and improve heart function can also help.  I have found that coconut water is my favorite way to hydrate--I've noticed my muscles and whole body feel better with it!  Please share in the comments if you have found great ways to relieve muscle cramps and improve muscle function!  

Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary spasms or contractions in one or more of your muscles, according to MedLine Plus. Muscle cramps are very common and can be very painful. Once you pinpoint the cause of your cramps, there are some steps you can take to prevent them from happening again.

Dehydration and Overuse:  Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or holding a contracted position for too long can all lead to muscle cramps, according to the Mayo Clinic. Dehydration and muscle strains are the most common reasons for muscle cramps during sports and are usually the cause of muscle cramps at night. According to the Stretching Institute, the most common areas affected by dehydration and overuse cramps are the calves, the upper leg, and the feet and hands.

Health Problems as a Cause:  Dehydration and overuse cramps are easily treated, but some cramps can develop as a result of serious medical conditions. According to the Mayo Clinic, inadequate blood supply, nerve compression and mineral depletion can all lead to cramps. This can happen because of arterial problems or blockages, which lead to blood supply issues and nerve problems, which lead to pinched nerves or cramps. The Mayo Clinic says a shortage of potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can lead to leg cramps. Muscle cramps can be the result of kidney, thyroid, diabetes, hormone or anemia problems that lead to mineral depletion or blockages.
Treatment:  When you come down with a severe muscle cramp, it helps to get water and electrolytes into your body, and to stretch and massage the affected areas. The Mayo Clinic suggests stretching the affected area and gently massaging at the same time before placing an ice pack on the area to relax the muscles. Stretching or extending the muscle as far as possible in the direction opposite of the contraction can help to loosen it and relieve the pain. If muscle cramps do not respond to fluids and stretching, an underlying medical issue could be to blame.
Prevention:  The most important thing you can do to prevent cramps is to stay hydrated, especially if you work or exercise in extreme heat and humidity. The Stretching Handbook says stretching and improving your cardiovascular fitness can also help keep cramps away. Stretching makes your muscles more flexible and loosens them, which can help to cool them and keep them from cramping after a workout. Getting in better cardiovascular shape also helps you to deliver more blood and nutrients to the muscles, which helps them to function properly.


  1. I believe muscle cramps are one of the most painful sensations one can endure. Good thing there are a lot of remedies people can apply to ease the pain like simply stretching the affected area. Along with these remedies, one should also have a balanced diet and adequate exercise to avoid muscle cramps.

  2. Thanks for sharing the related terms to get rid of muscle cramps are highly reliable to procure the betterment in reducing the pains, Really good...