Leg cramps. Gotta love em. They get all of us. Some more often than others. But everyone experiences them at some point in life.
A muscle cramp is a painful contraction of the muscle that is involuntary and can last seconds or minutes. They involve a tightening of the muscle.
The tricky part is figuring out what caused it. There are many possible triggers:
- Muscle overuse (exercise)
- Blood flow problems
- Sitting or standing for a long period of time
- Low potassium levels
- Low calcium levels
- Low magnesium levels
- Certain medications (like birth control pills, steroids, diuretics, or anti-psychotics)
So since a cramp involves the muscle shortening/tightening, the treatment is to do the opposite of that: lengthen and stretch!
Here are some things to try for immediate relief:
- Heat (hot pack, warm bath/shower, warm hot towel)
- Hydrate with Water or Gatorad
- If you think it is due to a medication, call your Doctor
Hopefully those tips help you now. Those things can also help you prevent them from coming back in the future!
Some other things to do for prevention:
- Avoid getting dehydrated; avoid Alcohol; don’t stay outside too long
- Eat foods containing potassium/calcium/magnesium
- Stretch often- several times a day
- Get regular exercise
- Take a daily multivitamin
If you continue to have problems and these tips don’t help, then be sure to consult your Doctor. They may prescribe you a medication. Keep in mind, many other things can cause leg cramps, for instance Restless Leg Syndrome, nerve compression in the Lumbar spine, & Sciatica. In that case, your Doctor may consider Physical Therapy.