Yoram Yasur Blume: Preventing muscle cramps
A muscle cramp is a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. If you ever woke up at night or had to stop for a sudden cramp, you know that muscle cramps can cause severe pain. Although they are usually harmless, muscle cramps can temporarily make the use of the affected muscle temporarily impossible.
Yoram Yasur Blume: Prolonged periods of exercise or physical work, especially in hot weather, can cause muscle cramps. Some medications and diseases can also cause muscle cramps. Generally, you can treat muscle cramps at home with personal care measures.
Yoram Yasur Blume: Most muscle cramps manifest in the muscles of the legs, particularly in the calf. In addition to sudden and severe pain, you may also feel or see a hard lump of muscle tissue under the skin.
When to see the doctor
Muscle cramps usually go away on their own and are rarely serious enough to warrant medical attention. However, consult your doctor if cramps:
- They cause intense discomfort
- They are related to swelling, redness or skin changes in the legs
- They are related to muscle weakness
- They happen often
- They do not improve with personal care
- They are not related to an obvious cause, for example, strenuous exercise
Yoram Yasur Blume: Excessive use of a muscle, dehydration, muscle tension or just maintaining a position for a prolonged period can cause muscle cramps. However, in many cases it is not known what the cause is.
While most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to undiagnosed diseases, such as:
- Inadequate blood supply. The narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the legs (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can produce pain similar to that of leg and foot cramps while exercising. These cramps often disappear shortly after finishing the exercises.
- Compression of the nerves. Compression of the nerves in the spine (lumbar stenosis) can also produce pain similar to leg cramps. Usually the pain gets worse the more you walk. Walking in a slightly flexed position (such as when you push a shopping cart) can improve or delay the onset of symptoms.
- Decrease in minerals. An insufficient amount of potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics (medications often prescribed for high blood pressure) can also decrease these minerals.
Some of the factors that increase the risk of muscle cramps are:
- Age. Yoram Yasur Blume: Older people lose muscle mass, so that the remaining muscle can be overstretched more easily.
- Dehydration. Frequently, athletes who become fatigued and dehydrated when playing sports in hot climates suffer from muscle cramps.
- Pregnancy. Muscle cramps are also common during pregnancy.
- Conditions. You may have more risk of muscle cramps if you have diabetes or nervous, liver, or thyroid disorders.
These measures can help prevent cramping:
– Avoid dehydration: Drink plenty of fluids every day. The amount depends on what you eat, your sex, the level of activity, the weather, your health, your age, and the medicines you take. Fluids help muscles contract and relax and keep muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. During the activity, he replenishes liquids at regular intervals and continues to drink water or other liquids after finishing.
– Lengthen your muscles: Elongate before and after using any muscle for a prolonged period. If you tend to have leg cramps at night, elongate before going to bed. Doing light exercise, such as using a stationary bike for a few minutes before bedtime, can also help you prevent cramps while you sleep.