The lack of fluids, not being fit or overweight, can promote cramps. Those that occur while we sleep are due to an alteration of the blood flow of the muscles.

Some data on cramps

The causes of cramps are various, from insufficient oxygenation of the muscles to the lack of minerals and liquids or are due to wrong positions, prolonged physical exertions, cold or sudden movements. Even going to the gym and not doing stretching at the end of the lesson can be a cause. It is a sudden contraction of one or more muscles, which generates pain and discomfort. It can happen to suffer from these spasms while we are sleeping and this is due to an alternation in the irrigation of the blood towards the muscles. If we go to sleep immediately after having dinner, for example, the blood will move towards the digestive system (mainly the stomach) and not towards the other muscles.

 

If cramps occur after exercise, it is generally considered that they are due to excessive production and therefore to the accumulation of acid in the attic. Inside the cells, glucose oxidizes in contact with oxygen in order to produce energy and, under normal conditions, our body realizes this work. However, when physical activity is prolonged or we are not used to doing it, the quantity produced may be insufficient: as there is no oxygen available, glucose then turns into lactic acid, which in any case is not entirely harmful to the body.

Cramps are usually harmless and do not need treatment. The doctors consider that there is no way to avoid them, besides not doing exercise after eating or stretching the muscles after practicing a sport. However, there are natural remedies that can decrease these muscle spasms. Although the causes of cramps, in addition to those mentioned above, are not entirely clear, what is certain is that there are situations that can produce them. Some of these are: make an effort when lifting objects; not be properly hydrated (remember that it is necessary to drink at least two liters of water a day); not being fit or being overweight; have an unbalanced diet with deficiencies of electrolytes, such as sodium; having problems with blood circulation in the muscles; exercise at high temperatures or make incorrect movements; be exposed to too cold temperatures; not having stretched your muscles after doing sport.

Any muscle can suffer a spasm, but the most affected groups are: the quadriceps (front of the thigh); the ischiocrural (back of the thigh) and the twins (calves).

Tips to treat cramps

The moment you are suffering from a cramp you should consider the following advice:

  • Stop making that movement or exercise.
  • Stretch the muscle gently so as to reduce the pressure on it. Hold the position for as long as necessary until the cramp is gone.
  • If the spasm occurs in a calf, place your hand on the muscle and step up gradually by pressing with your fingers until you reach the knee.
  • If it occurs in the quadriceps, stand up, lift the ankle up to the buttocks and move the heel and the upper part of the foot to stretch the muscle.
  • In the case of ischiocrocrats, the best thing is to sit and stretch the leg, without flexing the knee and trying to lean forward to touch the foot. Then gently massage the muscle.
  • Walk a little, in slow steps.
  • Drink water or soft drinks with mineral salts so as to recover the lost electrolytes or liquids.
  • Place some ice on the area, especially if you feel a lot of pain. Do not forget to wrap it in a towel or cloth so as not to burn the skin or damage it. Slowly, stretch the muscle to reduce blood flow and relax it.

Do-it-yourself remedies for cramps

These natural tricks are quite known and will help you if you suffer from cramps:

  • Wrap the area with an elastic band to stop the pain, but do not over-tighten or swell.
  • Drink Gingko Biloba tea every day, boiling three tablespoons of each cup of water for 10 minutes.
  • Apply essential oils (rosemary, eucalyptus, pine, thyme, etc.) in the affected area, the sensation of heat will help relax the muscle.
  • Mix a tablespoon of vinegar and one of honey in a cup with hot water. Drink it to make sure that the calcium is distributed correctly in the body.
  • Boil 1 liter of water with a tablespoon of mustard seeds for ten minutes. Make a 20-minute bath, plunging your legs into the water.
  • Drink a glass of water twice a day with 10 drops of bay tea.
  • Apply a cloth soaked in an infusion of apple and arnica vinegar to the area for 5 minutes. Withdraw it and place it again if necessary, until the pain has disappeared and the circulation will not be reactivated.
  • Mix a tablespoon of bicarbonate in a cup of water and drink. This natural cramping remedy is not recommended for those suffering from high blood pressure or water retention.
  • Prepare a milkshake with a cup of milk, half a cup of natural yogurt, half a cup of orange juice and a peeled banana. Drink on an empty stomach every three days. Banana potassium is perfect for avoiding cramps.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds in half a liter of water and leave to steep for one hour. Soak a cloth and apply it by rubbing lightly on the affected area.

Images courtesy of Jon Candy, Steffy Wonder, Phillip Capper, FatooM Qoughandoqa, Erin Koch.

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