Muscle Cramps

A muscle cramp is an uncontrollable and, more than likely, a very painful muscle spasm. Sometimes you can even experience symptoms like muscle twitching. They can last for varying periods of time and are generally resolved by themselves, with the help of stretching. The exact cause is unknown but there are certainly factors that bring a cramp on, including: overuse of a muscle, dehydration, holding the same position for a long period of time, and placing the muscle under extreme strain.

Most muscle cramps dissipate after a few minutes or seconds. There is no evidence to determine the best treatment for a muscle cramp, but the most common options include:

Stretch and Massage

Lengthen the muscle by using a gentle stretch, then lightly massage the area until the cramping stops. If you are unsure of how to stretch a particular muscle, see your Exercise Physiologist for advice.

Ice Pack

In cases of a severe cramp, applying an ice pack for a few minutes may help the muscle to relax.

Medication

For regular muscle cramping, please see your Doctor for further information. There may be an underlying medical condition causing the cramps, e:g: inadequate blood supply, nerve compression or mineral depletion.

There may be no known cause of muscle cramps, but the following ways definitely help to prevent their onset:

• Increase your level of physical exercise.
• Incorporate regular stretching into your exercise regime.
• Make sure you have a thorough warm up and cool down.
• Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
• Ensure your diet is nutritionally adequate (including plenty of fruits and vegetables).
• Wear properly fitted shoes, and ladies, try as much as you can to avoid high heels.

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