Help For Muscle Cramps Ahead!
If you’ve ever struggled with persistent muscle cramps, then you know how easily they can interrupt your life.
From messing with your exercise routine to stealing your sleep, the pesky – and often incredibly painful – muscle cramps can’t be ignored, and need to be stopped in their tracks.
Here are a few great, and completely natural ways to ease the pain and stop the cramping.
1. Prevent Electrolyte Imbalances
A potassium and/or magnesium deficiency can contribute to muscle spasms. If you’ve been working out a lot without refueling afterward, you’re beginning your menstrual cycle soon or you eat a mostly processed diet that’s low in fresh foods, you could be low in these nutrients that help muscles contract normally.
Low potassium (hypokalemia), which develops when potassium in your blood drops below normal, is one of the most common reasons people deal with leg cramps (including those that strike in the middle of the night, such as charley horses), high blood pressure and low energy. (2)
Aside from electrolytes, some research suggests that being low in B vitamins can also increase cramps, especially in your legs. (3) Aim to get more B vitamins from cage-free eggs, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, ancient grains and legumes.
2. Stretch and Massage Your Muscles
Staying active a great way to prevent muscle spasms since people who are physically fit maintain more muscle mass and usually have less inflammation, plus they tend to be more flexible. (4) Proper warm-ups and cool-downs before and after exercise can help prevent muscles from becoming overly fatigued, strained or pulled. Before a workout try warming up by jogging in place, gently rehearsing the motions of the exercise to follow, getting your heart rate up, and doing dynamic movements that bring blood to your major muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
When you’re done exercising, spend 10–15 minutes stretching your major muscle groups by holding stretches for at least 20–30 seconds. Make sure to stretch some of the most vulnerable areas, including your hamstrings, quadriceps and ankles. You can also make muscles become more resilient when you’re going about your day-to-day activities, such as walking with good posture and proper form in your feet, and sitting upright (not slouched) when you’re at a desk.
Frequently deal with charley horse? Try this stretch once the pain comes on: Sit down with your legs straight in front of you and pull your toes/top of your feet back toward you to stretch your hamstring. If your leg cramps affect the back of your thighs (your quadriceps), bend your affected leg and grab your foot behind you, pulling your foot up toward your back to stretch out the front of your thigh.
You also want to avoid overtraining and build in plenty of rest for proper muscle recovery as a preventative measure.
3. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can cause muscles to spasm and cramp up. To prevent dehydration, make sure you drink enough water every day based on your body size (the old standard of eight ounces, eight times per day might be enough, but necessary if you’re larger and very active). If the weather is very hot, you’re sweating, you’ve been exercising or drinking alcohol, make sure to have even more than normal to stay hydrated. This helps prevents muscle problems caused by heat exhaustion, intense thirst or heavy sweating.
– via Dr. Axe
Changing a few of your habits, like staying extra hydrated, will help avoid muscle cramps in the future, but if you need some relief right now, these are a few quick fixes to help your muscles relax and let you finally get some rest.
1. Cold Compress
After the initial heat treatment or after the pain has improved, use a cold compress on the sore muscles to provide complete relief from a muscle cramp.
The cold temperature will numb the pain, reduce inflammation and allow the affected muscle to relax. Plus, once the cramp is gone, a cold compress will help reduce soreness by constricting the blood vessels.
- Wrap a handful of ice cubes in a thin towel and put it on the affected area for about 15 minutes at a time. Repeat every two hours for one to two days.
- Another option is to take a cold shower as needed to relax sore muscles.
2. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt can also be used to treat muscle cramps. The magnesium in Epsom salt promotes muscle relaxation and healing.
- Fill your bathtub with warm water.
- Add two cups of Epsom salt and stir it thoroughly.
- Soak in this bath for 20 minutes.
- Usually, taking this bath once will take care of the problem. However, if required you can repeat this remedy the next day.
Note: Epsom salt must not be used by those suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Being high in potassium, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar helps relieve muscle cramps. Low potassium is one of the common causes of frequent muscle cramps. Plus, there are several nutrients in apple cider vinegar that help control the fluid balance in the body, thus preventing dehydration.
- Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. Drink this tonic once daily to prevent muscle cramps.
- To prevent nocturnal leg cramps, you can mix one teaspoon each of apple cider vinegar and honey and one tablespoon of calcium lactate in one-half glass of warm water. Drink this solution daily at night, about half an hour before going to bed.
4. Yellow Mustard
Interestingly, yellow mustard, too, has been used to treat muscle cramps within minutes. The possible reason could be that it contains acetic acid that promotes production of acetylcholine in the body. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that prompts muscles to work. This will relieve pain and soreness.
Simply take one teaspoon of yellow mustard. You can follow it by warm milk.
5. Clove Oil
Clove oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce muscle cramp inflammation and swelling. Plus, the anesthetic property of clove oil will help alleviate pain.
- Slightly warm some clove oil.
- Rub it on the affected area.
- Using firm strokes, massage the area for five minutes.
- If required, repeat the process again.
– via Top 10 Home Remedies
Have you ever dealt with muscle cramps? What’s worked best for you in the past?