Sudden involuntary contraction of the leg muscles lead to a leg cramp. This type of behaviour is quite common in muscles that contract more often as compared to the others. The muscles that cross the joints are vulnerable to such cramps.
These cramps are also called ‘charley horse’ and include the muscle groups like quadriceps and hamstrings, crossing the hip and the knee, and the calves, crossing the knee and the ankle.
Small cramps last a few seconds while a severe cramp lasts several minutes. Leg cramps usually occur at night. It may subside on its own or may even awaken a person from his slumber.
4 Ways To Prevent Leg Cramps
Regular stretching is quite essential for any physical activities as they help in relaxing the muscle fibres. Always remember to begin your workouts at a slow pace and warm up your body before stretching. While you are warming up make sure you are concentrating on the muscle group that easily gets cramped.
Relaxing the muscles is extremely important when it comes to preventing frequent cramps. Cool down after working out and avoid intensive exercises before going to sleep.
Though there is no scientific explanation for the relationship between muscle cramping and dehydration but there are many evidences that reveal the effect of dehydration upon the frequency of leg cramps. Make sure you drink enough water before, during and after workouts. Three full glasses of water per day is enough to keep your body fully hydrated for the day.
If you have already experienced a muscle cramp and you do not want it to happen again, massage the affected region and perform stretching and range of motion exercises. Gentle massage and slight stretching not only eases the pain, but also prevent it from occurring in the same region.As soon as the pain subsides, take a hot water bath. A hot shower or bath solves the problem by relaxing the muscles. Moreover, a warm shower also guarantees enhanced blood circulation and prevents other complications.
You should not ignore the leg cramps if it has become a persistent or a chronic problem. You should consult your general physician and let the affected area examined by him immediately. There are many possible medical causes leading to severe leg cramps. Electrolytes imbalance is one of the primary medical causes of leg cramps for which you need to perform a blood analysis to screen the levels of potassium and other electrolytes in your blood.
If the test analysis is beyond the normal range the doctor can prescribe medications related to muscle relaxation. The over-the-counter medications are quite helpful to prevent the muscle cramping at night, but you should take the advice of a doctor before consuming any painkillers.Getting your prescription reviewed by your general physician at an interval of 2 to 3 weeks is certainly an effective measure. The possible factors leading to your leg muscle cramps may change over time and it is extremely important to get your medical history reviewed and make the necessary changes in your medications.