A muscle cramp or spasm is a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. If you’ve ever been woken up at night or stopped by a sudden nudge, you know how severely a muscle spasm can cause you pain. Muscle contractions or cramps are quite common, mostly in the leg muscles. But any muscle, including your back, hands, feet, or toes can have a spasm.
Prolonged exercise or physical labor, especially in hot weather, can cause muscle cramps. Besides, some medications and medical conditions can also cause muscle cramps. You can usually treat muscle cramps at home with self-care measures.
Reasons for Muscle Cramps
Muscle spasms can be caused by overuse of muscles, dehydration, strained muscles, or simply holding one position for extended periods of time. In many cases, however, the reasons are unclear. While most muscle spasms are harmless, some may be related to underlying conditions, such as:
- Insufficient blood supply.
- Nerve compression.
- Mineral deficiency
- Risk factor
Factors that may increase the risk of muscle cramps include:
- Medical conditions
Effective Remedies to get rid of Muscle Cramps
Stretching the area that is having a muscle cramp can often help improve or stop the spasms. You can find some effective stretches for the calf, thigh, back, and neck muscles.
Massage is a great way to relieve body aches and muscle spasms.
3. Ice or heat
Pain and cramps are very effective with heat or cold therapy.
If you have cramps, try drinking a good amount of water.
5. Light exercise
Many people find that they can avoid night time leg cramps (which can affect up to 60% of adults) by doing some light exercise before bed.
6. Anti-inflammatory Pain Relief Cream
Over-the-counter pain relieving creams can also be of great help such as products containing lidocaine, camphor or menthol (Tiger Balm and Biofreeze products).
Hyperventilation is when you breathe heavier and faster than usual. If you’re having anxiety issues, then hyperventilation may not be a good option for you, as it can induce feelings of panic.
When should you see a doctor?
Muscle spasms usually go away on their own and are rarely severe enough to require treatment. However, you need to consult your doctor if your cramps are:
- causing severe discomfort
- associated with swelling, redness, or skin changes in the legs
- associated with muscle weakness
- occurring frequently
- aren’t getting better with self-care
- not related to obvious reasons, such as B, strenuous exercise.