Cramps are sudden pain which occur mostly in large muscle group due to over exertion or lack of electrolytes. Minerals like magnesium, sodium, potassium are known as electrolytes which are responsible for normal functioning of cells. Muscular cramps restricts the natural movements of body and make you helpless. So, it is very important to get rid of cramps as quick as possible.
The most common cramp is tonic in which there is continual muscular contraction. It may cause due to lack of electrolytes in body or a lack of coordination among agonist and antagonist muscles. Agonist muscle is aprimary muscle involved in any activity. While antagonist muscle is secondary muscle involved in any activity.
Clonic is a contraction which occurs due to nerve irritation but it occurs very rarely.
Causes of cramps
Let us understand the reason of cramps which will help us to get rid of cramps:
Cramp occurs due to inactivity. It is very common among office going people who sits at one place for larger period of time. They usually don’t take short breaks due to work load and thus muscles get sore and chances increase for cramps.
2. Overuse of muscle
This usually occurs with sportsperson and people who do lots of field work like door to door sales agent. This people usually are much prone to leg cramps due to overuse of leg muscles.
3. Improper footwear
Improper footwear is main reason of leg cramps, because shoes absorb the force applied by ground in response of foot application. Due to lack of proper shoes calf muscles are badly affected.
4. Lack of fluids in body
Drinking less water while doing active work may lead to cramps. Working people like factory laborers, drivers and athletes who drink less water while doing lots of physical work feel sudden cramp while sleeping. Drinking too much water also increase the risk of cramps.
5. Working in extreme conditions
Doing physical activity in very hot or very cold temperature which you are not used to may lead to cramps. Doing vigorous physical activity during very hot climate may lead to heat cramp.
6. Lack of proper warm-up and cool down
Doing physical exercise without doing proper warm-up is main reason of cramp among athletes. After activity it is very important to cool down muscles.
Immediate response to get rid of cramps:
1. Apply ice
Applying ice is best way to get rid of cramps. It decrease the inflammation and sudden pain of the muscle. But never apply ice directly on skin. Take some clean cloth or use ice pack to the cramped muscle.
2. Do stretching
Stretching will help you to get rid of cramps.
Exercises to get rid of cramps at calf muscles:
- Do downward bending in which stand straight and lower your body from waist and try to touch your toes without bending knees.
- Stand on your toes and then on heels repeat it for 15 to 20 times.
- Stand straight in front of wall and put the cramped feet forward and try to push the wall.
- Sit and try to touch your toes and try to touch your knees with your forehead.
Exercises to get rid of cramps at shoulder muscles:
- Do rotating movement by rotating your shoulder while keeping your hands in air without flexing elbow at your both side.
- Stretch your shoulder by keeping hand behind the back, keeping elbows flexed and then with other hand push elbow from front to behind.
Exercise to get rid of cramps at hamstring muscles:
- Stand and put one leg on chair or any raised surface then push your body forward.
- Stand straight and flex knee of your cramped foot and try to touch your knee to your abdomen as above as you can.
3. Apply heat:
Apply heat at affected area. You can take shower from warm water to get rid of cramp. Applying heat will relax your muscle and will remove the contraction of muscle.
Massage the infected muscle with slow and smooth motion as it will relax the contraction in the muscle. There are different types of massage techniques which will help you to get rid of cramps.
Preventive methods to get rid of cramps
Prevention is a best cure, so here are some ways to prevent the cramps which indirectly helps to get rid of cramps:
1. Taking short breaks from work
Avoid sitting at one place for prolonged duration. Take short breaks and move your body. Do some stretching exercises and try to work in standing position for some time.
2. Don’t overdo any physical activity
Overuse of muscles are main reason of cramped muscles.If you prevent or get rid of cramps than gradually increase the intensity of your activity. Don’t start running for 5 mile at first day of your exercise or don’t just do 100 reps of push up while you are hitting the gym for first time.
Take proper rest after an activity. Try doing exercise on alternate days and do exercises of different muscle group on each day. But at starting take at least 48 hours of break after gym session.
3. Wear appropriate footwear
Wear good quality shoes which suits your foot. There are various kinds of shoes available for different categories of foot. People who have flat foot can buy shoes with flat soles.
People who do lots of walking and running should buy extra padded shoes to give extra protection to legs. Choice of shoes also differs on the basis of nature of activity. In sports badminton player wear different non marked shoes while a runner wear spikes to keep ankles safe and for better grip on ground.
4. Drink adequate quantity of water
Drink at least 2 to 3 liter of water in a day to remain hydrated and to eliminate the risk of cramps. If you do lots of physical work than you can also try sports drink rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium. Lack of these three minerals are main cause of muscular cramps.
You can also try natural drinks like lemonade and buttermilk. Buttermilk eliminate the possibility of heat cramps during summer season while lemonade is good for decreasing risk of cramps which occur due to lack of minerals. You can also add salt in lemonade for more benefit.
5. Don’t start work immediately in new environment
Don’t start your physical work immediately in the weather conditions which you are not used to. Take some time to get adapted to your surroundings and then start your work gradually.
6. Proper warm up and cool down
Do proper warming up and cooling down exercises before and after any physical workout. Stretching exercises for each muscle group is very important especially for big ones like hamstring muscles, calf muscles, shoulder muscles as this muscles are at high risk of getting cramps.
Shake your body after any physical activity to relax the muscle and avoid stiffening of muscle.
7. Strengthen your muscles:
Strengthen your weak muscle as they are most likely to experience cramps. Participate in at least one game or any recreational physical activity of your choice. physical exercise will help you to keep your muscles active and strong.
Sports like basketball, football, volleyball, hockey or baseball are also good choice. Going to gym or swimming pool is recently in trend. For increasing fun element in your workout you can go dancing or aerobics.
Try different dance formats like zumba, cha cha, or any other such activity to get rid of cramps. But it is very important to keep consistency in doing activity otherwise it will not give you any benefit.
If you get cramps frequently and pain in the muscle is very severe and unbearable than immediately consult to doctor. You can also consider taking physiotherapy which will effectively decrease your pain and help you to get rid of cramps.