That pain that is felt in different parts of the body, even suddenly and apparently for no reason, is commonly called a cramp.
Who has never had a cramp in their life?
Curiously, the answer to this question could be “none”, due to the composition of the body, which is made up mostly of muscles.
What is a cramp?
Let’s deepen the topic. Commonly, this nagging pain is known as a cramp . It is nothing more than an involuntary contraction of a muscle.
On several occasions, the muscle tissue does not contract completely, but only partially, so the cramp is more localized. The pain is however intense and annoying.
This condition does not necessarily depend on direct trauma or muscle injury. It is common after straining the body too much or before going to sleep.
Causes of involuntary contraction
As we have anticipated, direct trauma is not the cause of cramps, as many think. In reality, the factors that cause them are different and have nothing to do with muscle problems.
The most common factors are:
- Spinal cord injury
- Malfunction of the nerves
- Excessive muscular effort
- Lack of minerals
- Hydration problems
- Insufficient blood circulation in the muscles
- Nerves of the back or neck are inflamed
Other triggering causes can be:
- Kidney failure
- Problems with alcoholism
- Taking some medications
What to do when a cramp occurs?
Cramps can appear at any moment, so it’s important to know what to do. In short, you have to be ready to face the situation.
Before physical activity
Excessive muscle strain is one of the main factors causing involuntary contraction. For this reason, it is necessary to take precautions before exercising.
- Activate all muscle groups, especially those in the specific area of the exercise you are going to do.
- Hydrate before, during and after the activity.
- Don’t eat heavy foods.
- If you eat, do it at least two hours before physical activity.
- Avoid consumption of coffee or alcoholic beverages.
Alternatives to control a cramp
There are many ways to relieve involuntary muscle contraction. We will show you some of the simplest and most practical.
Massage of the muscle in question
This way of treating the cramp is one of the most common. It is very simple and, above all, it brings significant benefits.
- To perform a massage, it is necessary to take a comfortable position according to the contracted muscle.
- It is then necessary to exert some pressure with the hands while massaging the muscle through circular movements. This will promote blood circulation and the muscle will return to its normal position.
Apply heat to the area affected by the cramp
This is also an alternative to combat cramps, especially when the pain lasts for a long time.
Heat can be used in several ways:
- Lukewarm water shower : the heat of the water will progressively dissipate the involuntary contraction of the muscle. Hot water combined with steam is very effective.
- Hot water packs : you have to moisten some cloths with hot water and apply them directly on the affected area to improve the condition of the muscle.
If you don’t have gauze, cloths or towels can be used.
Drink lots of water
Since one of the main causes of cramps is dehydration, drinking water is a great measure.
It not only helps treat cramps, but also prevents them.
When cramping occurs, it is recommended to drink at least half a liter of water.
It is necessary to identify when the cramp occurs. If it happens during sports, it can be linked to body dehydration.
Some data to take into consideration
Cramps are a very common condition among humans. Aside from the discomfort they cause, they don’t last more than 10 minutes.
If this is not the case, it is advisable to consult a doctor to assess the condition of the muscles involved.
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