The cramp is the disease which occurs mostly to athletes and sport persons, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to normal people. The cramps are sudden, involuntary muscle contraction or over shortening; while generally temporary and non-damaging, they can cause mild to excruciating pain and paralysis like immobility of the affected muscles. The cramps occur suddenly and it resolves after several seconds, minutes, or hours on its own. The cramps occur in skeletal muscle or smooth muscle. The cramps in skeletal muscle occur due to muscle fatigue or a lack of electrolytes e.g., low sodium, low potassium, or low magnesium. The cramps in smooth muscle occur due to menstruation or gastroenteritis. Cramps are very painful sometimes and they need treatment instantly.
Causes of Cramps
There are several reasons for occurring of cramps. The cramps occur due to overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. Most of the time the causes of the cramps are unknown. The cramps are harmless but sometimes they may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as:-
• Nerve compression- the nerves in the spine (lumbar stenosis) can get compressed and this can produce cramp like pain in your legs. The pain of the legs worsens if you walk longer, but walking into slightly flexed position may reduce the pain.
• Inadequate blood supply- the arteries, which deliver blood to your legs may get narrower and can produce cramp like pain in your legs and feet while you are exercising. When you stop doing the exercise, the pain of the cramps goes away.
• Mineral depletion- one of the main reason for cramps is a shortage of mineral ions in your body. The loss of potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can cause cramps in your legs. There are some medications such as diuretics, which is prescribed for blood pressure reduces the minerals in the body.
• Exposure to large changes in temperature may also cause cramps.
Muscle cramps sometime are the symptoms of kidney disease, hypokalemia, and multiple sclerosis.
Sign and Symptoms
Most of the cramps develop in leg muscle, particularly in the calf and the pain is sudden and sharp. During the cramps you may feel or see a hard lump of muscle tissue beneath your skin. The cramps can goes away by their own, but if the pain persists, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
There is no special diagnosis method for cramps, but it is very easy to deduct the occurrence of cramps as most people know what cramps are and when they have one. When a cramp occurs, it can easily be deducted by any bystander or doctor who can feel the firm bulge of the cramped muscle. The cramps are very painful and the sufferer must stop whatever activity is underway and seek relief from the cramp; the person is unable to use the affected muscle while it is cramping. Swelling and soreness of the muscle are other factors which can help deduct muscle cramps.
Treatment for cramps
The treatment of camp is very easy as most of the time it goes away by its own. With self care measures also you can control your cramps. The doctors can also recommend some stretching exercises that can help in reducing the chances of getting muscle cramps. Some healthy lifestyle changes also reduce the chances of getting cramps. Keeping your body well hydrated and taking the proper amount of minerals in your diet reduces the chance of cramps.
Sometime if the pain is very severe and it does not subside after some time your doctor can prescribe anticramp medicine such as quinine, which is very effective in reducing the pain of your muscle cramps. Natural vitamin B complexes are also very effective in reducing the pain of cramps. It is also available in the form of anticramp tablets in the market. Products made from natural ingredients are the best treatment for leg cramps.
There are various reasons which may lead to occurrence of cramps, but following a healthy lifestyle may reduce the chances of getting cramps.
• Aim to drink lots of water regularly to provide your body the daily dose of required electrolytes.
• Eat healthy diet, which contains all the minerals and vitamins required by your body.
• Stop drinking alcohol and quit smoking.
Step to improve the health
• Drink lots of water on regular interval of times. Add more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
• Do exercise regularly. Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes on a daily basis.
• Drink lots of juices and keep your body properly hydrated when you are exercising.
Things to remember
The cramps are not a very serious disease, but sometimes it’s a sign of some underlying serious medical condition. So do consult your doctor if you experience these cramps regularly and get diagnosed properly.