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Health / Lifestyle

Muscle Cramp – What and Why?

Muscle Cramp – What and Why?

A sudden contraction of muscles is referred to as Muscle Cramp. It is an involuntary reaction and can be quite painful. It may last for few minutes but the pain can prolong for one or two days in some cases. You may also find a small bulging of Muscles at the affected area.

Why does it happen?

While most muscle cramps develop on the leg muscles, it also could be felt on the foot, fingers and hands. It is mainly connected with the blood circulation. Sometimes long periods of exercise or physical labor can lead to muscle cramps. Overuse or abuse of a muscle, dehydration or holding to a position for a long time can cause the cramps.

Nerve compression is also another factor for repeated muscle cramps such as the Sciatic Nerve compression (Lumbar Stenosis). Mineral depletion – too little Calcium, Potassium or Magnesium in the diet can also contribute to Leg Cramps. Medications prescribed for high blood pressure can deplete these minerals.

Risk Factors

Although the cramps are less harmful, the pain generated during the cramp can be unbearable and you are left with nothing to do except suffer. It goes off on its own after some time but the pain can remain.

Some of the factors that can increase the risk of Muscle Cramps are Age, Dehydration, Pregnancy and certain Medical Conditions. Air Conditioning or exposing yourselves to lower temperatures can also play an important role.

How to prevent or reduce Muscle Cramps

  1. Avoid Dehydration – Drink plenty of water or liquids daily. The Fluids help the muscles contract and relax, thus keeping the cells hydrated and less irritable.
  2. Stretch the Muscles – If you hold on to any position for a long time or overuse a muscle, stretch the muscles. Doing regular exercise is a must. At least 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise can give you a better result.
  3. Avoid Air Conditioners as far as possible – At least make sure that the cold wind is not directly hitting your body. An ideal temperature is 24 degree Celsius. It may not be possible for everybody. But avoid continuous exposure to Air Conditioners
  4. Practice Yoga – There are many Yoga Postures which can give good results when it comes to Muscle Cramps

Take proper care of your muscles and live happily.

Picture used for illustration only

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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