• Health

Muscle Cramps and Muscle Spasm Remedies

Muscle spasms (which happen most commonly in the feet and calves) can hit you, and normally at the most inconvenient times too! Though they might give your colleagues a giggle as you hop around the office grasping at your ankle, they can be rather exhausting.

The primary treatment of muscle cramps involves methods to relax the affected muscle. This typically involves stretching, massage therapy, and heat application.
Muscle cramps

Such spasms can be caused by a range of factors, such as tiredness or overuse, particularly if the muscle has been in the same position for a while (and with most people in sedentary jobs, that is a risk!), as the muscle cell is running out of steam and thus forcefully contracting.

Using the same muscle(s) again and again in regular activities, like working in front of the computer, for instance – can give you spasms in the neck, shoulder and back.

Exercise, chronic back or neck pain, menstrual cramps and a variety of other conditions can potentially lead to pesky muscle spasms. Sometimes they go away in a matter of minutes – sometimes the tightness and pain linger.

A muscle cramp is a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles.

If you've ever been awakened in the night or stopped in your tracks by a sudden charley horse, you know that #musclecramps can cause severe pain. Though generally harmless, muscle cramps can make it temporarily impossible to use the affected muscle.

Long periods of exercise or physical labour particularly in hot weather, can lead to muscle cramps. Some medications and certain medical conditions may also cause muscle cramps. Muscle cramps are extremely common, and nearly everyone experiences a cramp at some time in their life. Any of the muscles that are under our voluntary control (skeletal muscles) can cramp. Cramps of the extremities, especially the legs and feet and most particularly the calf (the classic #charleyhorse, are very common. Cramps are common in adults and become increasingly frequent with ageing. However, children also experience cramps. You usually can treat muscle cramps at home with self-care measures.

Symptoms of muscle cramps

Most muscle cramps develop in the leg muscles, particularly in the calf. Besides the sudden, sharp pain, you might also feel or see a hard lump of muscle tissue beneath your skin.

Causes of muscle cramps

Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn't known.

Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Inadequate blood supply. Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your legs (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can produce cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you're exercising. These cramps usually go away soon after you stop exercising.

  • Nerve compression. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) also can produce cramp-like pain in your legs. The pain usually worsens the longer you walk. Walking in a slightly flexed position — such as you would use when pushing a shopping cart ahead of you — may improve or delay the onset of your symptoms.

  • Mineral depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — can also deplete the