Muscular cramp refers to the commonly known Skeletal-muscle cramp. It is defined as the sudden contraction or shortening of muscle, which gives rise to pain as well discomfort. Such a situation is nothing uncommon, because at some point of time in life everyone faces this at least once. As for example, it can happen just at any moment like while walking or while rising from the chair being seated for long!
The duration of such a muscle cramp can vary from few seconds to few minutes or longer and can be recurring in nature too. The Skeletal-muscle cramp being voluntary may occur at any part of our body that can be controlled by ourselves. However, the most common areas affected by it include legs, thighs, back, calf (the popular Charley horse) and so on. The cramps of all these areas are mostly related to our everyday strenuous activities.
Common Causes and Symptoms: Besides strenuous activities, dehydration is another factor that can cause the Skeletal-muscle cramp. As we lose a lot of bodily fluid during dehydration, doing any type of vigorous activity will result in the drop of the body mass, especially when exposed to humid climate. This has an adverse effect on our muscles. Similarly, lack of sodium and potassium can also cause cramps. Likewise, low level calcium as well magnesium in blood, especially in case of pregnant women is an important cause of the Skeletal-muscle cramps. Sometime such muscle cramps also occur as a symptom of other underlying diseases like kidney-disorder, thyroid problem, etc. One interesting type of muscle cramp known as “rest cramp” can attack you even while you are sleeping; caused by movements such as toe being pointed down!
The most common symptom of muscle cramp is sudden hardening of the muscle followed by severe pain. At that time, while you are going through it, you won’t be able to move the affected body part.
Home Remedies: We can treat the Skeletal-muscle cramp effectively by applying the following available home remedies
1. Intake of fluids: As mentioned earlier, lack of fluid often causes such muscle cramps. Therefore, we can control it by increasing the intake of fluids in the form of drinking water and fresh fruit juices.
2. Stretching: It is important to stretch properly in order avoid frequent cramps. For example, in case of calf or thigh cramps, stretch your leg while your toes are pointing upward. A good habit will be to stretch before going to bed at night and before leaving the bed in the morning.
3. Heat: In order to stimulate the blood-flow in the cramp affected areas, use a heating-pad to apply heat in mild degree. This is one of the very effective home-remedy.
4. Pickle juice: Take one teaspoon of pickle juice at a regular basis in case you are prone to leg cramps. Because of the presence of acetylcholine compound, pickle juice can help your leg muscles to be relaxed.
5. Chamomile tea: Use of this tea which has the amino acid called glycine can also help in relaxing your muscles or muscle fibers.
Regular use of proper and healthy diet is very essential in order to control sudden contraction of muscles. Eat foods like potato and banana more as they will fill the bodily need of potassium. You should include raw peppers as well wheat germ, which contains Vitamin B6 being very effective for those who are prone to leg cramps.
Dr Andrew Napier