How do you wake up? Me, on most days, I wake up to the sound of my alarm, and then tumble out of bed and go on with my day. Yet on some days, I wake up with a start, whimpering, cursing, and rubbing my leg. Yes, that’s a muscle cramp, which has awoken many of us and sometimes just hit us at any other time, giving us a few painful minutes. We have all experienced it.
Basically, when any muscle in your body suddenly contracts (gets tighter or shorter) that little episode (lasting from seconds to few minutes) of pain is termed as muscle cramps. The most common area it happens is your leg, it may happen in your calf, thigh or foot.
There can be many offenders behind this cramping namely:
- Dehydration: this is among the most common cause behind muscle cramps
- Over-use of muscles: while exercising or for any other reason if you worked out a muscle too much, you may also prepare yourself for cramps
- Certain medications: lead to cramps as a side effect
- Lower levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium
- Not stretching before a workout
- Sleeping in awkward positions or sitting for too long sometimes may result in cramps as well
- Certain conditions like pregnancy, age, a medical condition like diabetes, atherosclerosis etc. are among the common risk factors
The good thing about them is that they can be self-treated. Here’s what you can do to get through this ordeal:
- Use an ice pack to relieve the pain and/or use a heat pack or a hot bath to relax the muscle
- Walk around, stretch your leg, massaging works as well
- Drink your water, get hydrated
Ideally, you won’t need a consultation for this case, however, if the pain you feel is severe, or there are too many occurrences and you cannot figure out a possible cause, then consult with a doctor. They may check to see if the reason behind the same is not any other underlying condition.
However, our mojo lies in prevention. This is what you should be practicing to reduce their numbers:
- Staying hydrated: drink aplenty (no alcohol though)
- Keep your minerals and vitamins level at a right amount
- Stretch before exercising
- Avoid any medications if you think they are causing the cramps. If those are prescribed medicines talk to your doctor
- Don’t over exert any muscles while working out
So now that we know, I hope you and I can both sleep peacefully and not wake up crazy.