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    • cal09-August-2022 adminKajal Tharwani

      Muscle Cramps-A matter Of Minerals

    • Have you ever experienced unbearable muscle pain while walking, running, or suddenly moving?  You must have! This sudden pain in the muscle is called muscle cramps. 

      These are generally harmless but can sometimes lead to an underlying medical disorder. Do you wonder about the reason behind cramps? Is it because of any disease? Is it genetic? What are the causes?

      Table of Contents 

      1. What Is Muscle Cramp?

      2. What Are The Causes Of Muscle Cramp? 

      3. It Is A Matter of Minerals

      4. What Are The Consequences Of Muscle Cramp?

      5. What Is the Treatment Of Cramps?

      6. How To Prevent Cramps? 

      7. The Final Say 

      8. Dietician's Recommendation  

      9. FAQs

      What Is Muscle Cramp?  

      Muscle cramps are unforeseen, involuntary contractions that occur in various muscles. These are painful and affect different muscle groups. The most common areas are the back of your lower leg and the back of your thighs. 

      The cramps are common in adults and can last for a few seconds to a quarter of an hour. It often results in the swelling of the involved muscle. Moreover, the cramps become frequent with ageing. 

      What Are The Causes Of Muscle Cramps? 

      Here are a few major causes of muscle cramps:

      • Not enough stretching
      • Muscle fatigue
      • Dehydration
      • Depletion of electrolytes(salts and minerals in your body) 
      • Involuntary nerve discharges
      • Stress
      • High-intensity exercise
      • Low blood supply to legs and feet 
      • Overusing the muscles
      • Sitting for a long-time
      • Improper posture 

       It Is A Matter of Minerals

      Muscle needs certain types of minerals to work properly. If you are facing muscle issues, your body needs minerals. The top minerals required for the proper functioning of  muscles are: 

      1. Calcium 

      Calcium is talked about due to its function in bone health. Muscles use calcium to move or contract. If your muscular calcium runs low, you may experience fatigue. 

      2. Magnesium 

      Magnesium is a natural calcium blocker. It helps your muscle relax after contracting. If your magnesium level is low, your muscle may contract too much and can cause cramps and muscle spasms. 

      3. Potassium 

      Potassium ensures muscle tissue growth. Muscle weakness and spasms are typical signs of a potassium deficit; if not addressed, a potassium deficiency can result in the breakdown of muscle tissue.

      4. Sodium 

      Sodium is vital to your muscles because it controls your body’s fluid balance and nerve impulses. 

      What Are The Consequences Of Muscle Cramps?

      Here are the consequences of long-term muscle cramps- 

      • Inflexible muscles
      • Poor physical activity
      • Poor muscle tone
      • Muscle injury
      • Muscle fatigue
      • Pregnancy
      • Ageing 
      • Wearing high-heels for an extended time
      • Reduced blood supply 
      • The physical exertion of cold muscles
      • Overexertion 

      What Is the Treatment Of Cramps?

      Most of the time, cramps can be stopped by muscle stretch. However, here are tips you can opt for in treating cramps- 

      • Apply hot or cold compresses to your sore muscles at first sight of a spasm
      • You can flex the ankle by pulling the toes up toward the head while lying in bed with a straight leg. 
      • Determining if you are low on electrolytes and when to choose a sports drink over water. 
      • If your pain does not improve, try anti-inflammatory medications. 

      How To Prevent Cramps? 

      Here are a few suggestions to prevent cramps- 

      • Maximise your physical fitness
      • Start stretching
      • Stay hydrated
      • Make sure your diet has adequate nutrients. 
      • Regular massage will help you to reduce muscle tension.
      • Increase your calcium and potassium intakes.
      • Do not exercise right after eating. 
      • Consult your doctor about vitamin supplementation.
      • Wear fitting shoes and avoid high heels. 
      • Warm up before and after exercise. 

      The Final Say 

      Other unidentified causes of muscle cramps include specific factors such as poor physical health, dehydration, and tired muscles. Strengthening and toning might minimise the length and severity of pain. You may also choose good quality and comfortable footwear if prone to cramps.

      Consult your doctor if you frequently get muscle cramps or if they last for more than a few minutes.

      Dietician’s Recommendation 

      People with frequent muscle cramps may find it challenging to engage in physical exercises. Apply a hot or cold compress to your painful muscles or stretch the afflicted muscle whenever a muscle cramp occurs. Add vitamins and minerals to your diet. 

      FAQs

      1. What causes muscle cramps?

      Vitamin and mineral deficiency, along with electrolyte imbalance, cause cramps.

      2.  What triggers muscle cramps?

      Overuse of a muscle, dehydration (electrolyte imbalance), muscle strain/overexertion, or simply holding a position for an extended period can cause a muscle cramp.

      3. What drink can stop cramps?

      Any healthy drink/sports drink or plain water

      4. Which food should I consume for muscle cramps?

      Coconut water,papaya,banana,milk,greek yoghourt,watermelon,avocado,bone broth,sweet potato.

      5. What is the quickest way to get rid of leg cramps?

      Forcefully stretching the affected muscle. Jiggle your leg, massage it, or take a walk. 

      Also, you may apply ice or heat (use a heating pad or take a warm bath).

       

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