Cures For Cramps

Fitness

In a recent post that explored the topic of muscle cramps, I narrowed the potential causes down to four main triggers to help explain why we occasionally experience these painful attacks of involuntary muscle contraction. They were:

  • Dehydration
  • Poor circulation
  • Mineral imbalance
  • Medications

Whilst it's good to know why they happen, here's some ways to treat a cramp if one strikes and hopefully prevent them from happening at all:

Dehydration

Did you know that an amazing 70% of muscle is actually water? To do its job, that is contract and then relax, your muscles need a steady and consistent flow of particular nutrients in and out of each muscle cell.  When a muscle becomes dehydrated, this flow is compromised or sluggish and as a result the muscle function is impaired. Not only will the muscle be more prone to cramping, it will have less strength and tone. An easy way to note your hydration levels is to check your urine colour. If it is clear or pale straw in colour, all good; If not, increase your water intake immediately.

Poor circulation

This can be caused by a serious medical condition (please consult your doctor if so) or as a result of our exceedingly sedentary lives. If the latter is more likely in your case, then you're increasing your chance of muscle cramps. Keep moving and always look for opportunities to move, as this will provide one of the most effective and natural ways to boost your circulation. When a cramp does strike, give the area a massage. Locally rubbing the affected area promotes circulation and will help to ease the cramp quickly. 

Mineral imbalance

For a muscle to contract it needs Calcium and Sodium, and as a cramp is really a muscle contraction it could be assumed the amount of these nutrients is adequate for this to occur. No need to add more. On the flip side, to have a muscle relax (that is, to let go of a contraction and return to its normal length) the body uses Magnesium and Potassium. So if you're prone to cramping, often the first place to address would be at the core of the problem - do you have enough Potassium and Magnesium required to allow the muscle to relax? If you're unsure, here's a list of foods I’d encourage you to eat more of to increase both Magnesium and Potassium into your body (some foods fall into both categories which is great!)

  • Foods high in Magnesium - dark leafy greens (raw spinach, kale), nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds), fish (mackerel, tuna), soy beans, brown rice, avocado, yoghurt, banana.
  • Foods high in Potassium - dark leafy greens, baked potatoes with skin, dried apricots, yoghurt, fish (salmon, tuna), avocado, mushrooms, banana.

Medications

Some medications will make you more prone to cramps. If you feel this is the case, definitely do not go off the medication without first consulting your doctor about the situation. The good news is the majority of muscle cramps are preventable and are a sign of the environment in which your muscles are attempting to operate. I hope my tips give you a plan of attack to get on top of this condition.

 
Category: Fitness

Add a Comment

  1. Enter your comments

     

Your details

Approval

  1. Email me if my comment is published