Posted on: November 25, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 1

How to Get Rid of Muscle Cramps
Unexpected muscle cramps usually have us yelling various strings of profanities that we shall refrain from listing here. The shooting pain that muscle cramps usually cause can be hard to deal with. Getting rid of muscle cramps is an important thing to know offhand, since they are usually fairly short in duration and we might not have immediate access to online how-to guides.

When dealing with any problem, it is important to know your enemy well so you can apply the right solution. In this article we’ll first explain what causes muscle cramps, and then dive right into dealing with them.

What causes muscle cramps?

One important first distinction to make is the difference between muscle cramps and stomach cramps. Digesting a big meal takes a lot of blood flow from the body to support the break-down process.

When you exercise immediately after a meal, your body will send more blood to the bigger muscles being used, which are generally away from the stomach. This will cause the stomach to cramp from a lack of blood flow.

On the other hand, muscle cramps can be caused by a wide variety of factors. This list includes diabetes, dehydration, electrolyte deficiencies, tired muscles, vitamin deficiency, and disturbances in blood flow. By first identifying what is causing the cramps, it will make for a much simpler solution to the problem.

There are many things you can do before the onset of cramps that can prevent them from showing up at all. It’s always easier to prevent something than deal with it once it has shown up, so try some of these preventive measures to stop the cramps from happening.

1. Drink up.

Staying hydrated is always important when doing any sort of exercise. Keeping a good flow of liquids in your body will keep the blood oxygenated so that no muscle is lacking in fuel.

2. The electrolyte glow.

You can stock up on electrolytes by consuming food and drinks that are high in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. Sport drinks are a great way to replenish the body with electrolytes, and can be easily consumed on the go if you’re in the middle of a workout.

3. Pre-game stretch.

By warming up the muscles before intense exercise, you can help yourself prevent injury and stop the cramps from happening. Cold muscles have a harder time getting blood flowing to the area, so they may constrict when there isn’t enough fuel being supplied. Before exercising, do some light running or skipping to get your heart rate and the blood pumping faster.

4. Drink well, eat well.

There are several types of foods and drinks that will cause the body to dehydrate faster, so it’s best to avoid high concentrations of these if you want to stop the cramping.

Foods high in protein need more liquids to flush out some of the key nutrients, so if you already don’t drink a lot of water you might get cramps from a high protein diet. Asparagus is probably best known for making our urine smell funny, but it also contains a dehydrating agent called asparagine which can cause us to cramp up more.

Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea can also dry out the body quite a bit, but the good news is that the water used to make the drink is usually enough to balance out the dehydrating effects.

Alcoholic beverages however will cause you no shortage of dehydration problems, especially on a hot day. By causing cells inside your body to shrink, the alcohol is sucking the extra water out from those cells which can cause you to cramp from dehydration.

If you weren’t able to apply these methods in advance, you might need an immediate solution for dealing with cramps. Check out some of these ways you can stop those painful cramps dead in their tracks.

5. Stretch it out.

If you already have muscle cramps, there are several steps you can follow to get rid of them. Doing light stretches of the cramped area can help deal with the problem by releasing some tension in the area and getting the blood flow back to normal. Don’t over-exert yourself on these stretches, as the more intense ones could actually just make the cramp worse.

6. Pickle Juice!

There is no real scientific explanation for this, but some case studies have shown that drinking a salty liquid like pickle juice can help to zap the length of cramping in half. If you can get around the taste and the curious nature of drinking pickle juice, try this next time you’re cramping up.

7. Heat it up.

Depending on the severity of the cramp, heating up the area can help to restore blood flow and get rid of the pain. Heat can help speed up the nutrient transportation in your body and supply the cramped area with what it needs to stop the muscle contractions.

8. Chill out.

Applying a cold-compress will do several things to help get rid of the cramp. By cooling the area, a cold compress can help to relax the muscle and prevent further constrictions. It can also reduce inflammation from the muscle if it has been worked too hard, and the numbing properties of the cold-compress will help ease the pain a little.

9. Muscle massage.

There are a few different kinds of massages you can use to get rid of the cramps and relieve the pain.

A sport massage would be used for athletes who have put too much strain on their muscles and haven’t been able to keep up with the blood supply needed to that area. By massaging the cramped area, it can relieve soreness and circulate more blood throughout the body.

A trigger point massage is a technique that focuses on one certain area and is used to help get rid of cramps in that specific region. The aim of this massage is to target the areas that typically transfer the pain to other areas, and ease them from doing so.

Whether you’re a runner, a swimmer, or just someone who wants a better sleep, you certainly don’t deserve these cramps. Keep on top of ways you can stop the cramps from happening or apply some of these methods if you get them and you’ll be running that marathon with no interference from your muscles.

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