|Image by Getty Images via @daylife|
It mostly affects the muscles of foot, painfully contacting the toes down; calf muscles, forcibly dragging the heel up; chest muscles, squeezing the chest wall making respiration difficult due to pain and many more.
There are some causes and some triggering factors for it, but in most of cases cause cannot be explained.
When a person experiences a muscle cramp, the muscle that cramps feels harder than normal to the touch or may even show visible signs of twitching. The intensity of muscle cramps range from feeling like mild twitches to excruciating pain.
It does not matter who can get muscle cramp, be the person sedentary, younger, elderly, overweight or athlete; just anybody. However, elderly, overweight and athletes are more prone to get it.
It can be due to;
- Dehydration, working under the sun and athletes; losing water and salts from body; otherwise termed as water and electrolyte imbalance. The electrolytes in the blood, such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate,
- Muscle cramps can be seen in parathyroid disease, where there is defect in calcium balance in blood; a lower level or deficient state of parathyroid hormone.
- Muscle cramps are side adverse effect of certain medications, one might be taking for certain condition. Diuretics and cholesterol lowering drugs my be some of those drugs.
- Certain other diseases of nervous system and muscle can cause cramp.
The trick is to stretch the cramping muscle, achieved by manually doing the opposite movement at the joint. For example, when the toes are contracting downwards, force can be applied on the toes and drag those in opposite direction, that is towards oneself.
Thereafter, moist heat can be applied on the muscle or muscle group to relax. Cold may be applied to painful sore muscle.
It is important to do regular flexibility exercises before and after you work out to stretch muscle groups most prone to cramping. It’s also a good idea to avoid dehydration as fluids help muscles contract and relax.
If there are frequent muscle cramps, it is best to see your doctor for an evaluation