Discover how to get rid of cramps.
Muscle cramps are a very common problem in sports people. They can occur in the leg, in the arm, in the calf, in the back, in the foot after a sports effort, or because of a lack of potassium for example… If there is no treatment to make them disappear, there are remedies to relieve them.
A cramp is a painful, uncontrollable, and transient muscle contraction. A cramp differs from a contracture which lasts for a longer period.
Cramps frequently occur during exercise or just at the end of it, and mainly concern the striated muscles, under voluntary control, essentially the muscles of the limbs, in particular the lower limbs.
How long can it last? A cramp occurs suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes before disappearing without any sequelae.
A muscle cramp is manifested by the sudden onset of pain in one or more muscles ( arm, neck, back, thigh, calf, foot, etc.).
The muscle appears contracted on palpation, and its solicitation increases the pain and the patient is relieved by the stretching of this muscle. On the other hand, the pain disappears spontaneously when stimulation is stopped, in a few minutes at most.
” Cramps are more common in athletes, they reflect a lack of training,” said Dr. Douglas Levy Biau, sports physician. Before specifying: “it is important to differentiate idiopathic cramps from those related to a disease”. Indeed, they can be linked to pathologies affecting the muscles or the nerves innervating these muscles.
In this case, they are then the consequence of renal insufficiency, dehydration, dialysis, neurological (such as multiple sclerosis), or hepatic pathologies.
They can also be caused by the abuse of stimulants(alcohol, tobacco) or taking certain medications. Cramps can be caused by pathologies of the hormonal origin or hydro electrolytic origin: drop in potassium, drop-in magnesium, drop in calcium.
But, generally, cramps reflect muscle fatigue. It is favored by an excessively intensive muscular effort, an insufficient warm-up, and the absence of stretching of the muscles used at the end of the effort.
The majority of these contractions, therefore, occur in a context of effort, but they can occur more rarely without any stimulation, and even at night sometimes.
Cramps are very common during pregnancy, especially during the last few months. However, it is possible to relieve them easily. To get them through, stand up and massage your leg.
Take care to get up slowly. Pay particular attention to the passage between the lying position and the sitting position. Don’t get up suddenly. Rotate your pelvis and shoulders at the same time to roll onto your side, then use your arm as leverage to straighten up and sit on the edge of the bed.
A cramp occurring in a sports context, which is the majority case, is easily diagnosed in this context of significant effort, especially when predisposing factors are identified such as fatigue, the intensity of the stress on the muscle in question, a great heat with lack of hydration.
The cramp is often recognized by the individual himself who has already had it or his partners. No additional examination is necessary if it does not last, and consultation may be considered in the event of abnormally repeated frequency of cramps, sometimes in the same muscle.
” There is no specific treatment except when pathology is a cause “, explains Dr. Douglas Levy Biau, a sports doctor. Immediately, stretch and relax the muscle: during a calf cramp, for example, do a dorsal flexion of the affected foot by slowly pulling the toes and the foot towards the front of the leg.
If the cramp is violent or recurs frequently, the use of certain drugs such as muscle relaxants (medicines that relax the muscles), vitamin B 12, and quinine. Passionflower and arnica can also relieve cramps.
To pass the cramp, simply stretch the contracted muscle after stopping the solicitation of it. Hydration and calm use of the muscle for a few minutes after the pain has stopped usually reduce the excess of undesirable molecules and prevent the onset of a new cramp.
If the cramps are caused by an identified disease, it is by taking charge of this that we can hope to reduce their frequency of occurrence.
You may also read: How to get rid of cramps
Vitamins, magnesium… Many treatments can be proposed but their effectiveness remains uncertain and unproven. Note that in case of cramps resulting from dehydration, especially during heat waves, good hydration is recommended. Many so-called “grandmother” tips exist.
Here again, there is no scientific proof, but no risk, however, in testing them.
Honey, for its potassium intake, would be effective against cramps. Ditto, the author advises making a small cure of banana and chocolate, for their contribution to magnesium and potassium.
Breathe well. The idea: relax the muscles. To get rid of cramps, take a deep breath in, expanding your lungs for 7-8 seconds, then release for 7-8 seconds.
Cranberry bark would also be effective. Sophie Lacoste advises to “make a decoction and drink a third of a cup of coffee to make the cramps disappear in less than twenty minutes.”
To prevent cramps, it is essential to stay well hydrated in general and particularly during or in anticipation of a major effort. Athletes should pay particular attention to their warm-up.
After the effort, stretching sessions should be recommended for the intensely stressed muscles. In any case, you should always take the advice of your doctor when cramps occur, especially when they are too frequent and not related to effort.
It’s no joke because this grandmother’s recipe for night cramps is still used a lot. After all, it has proven itself. To avoid having cramps, just place Marseille soap at the bottom of the bed or under the sheets. Some also recommend brushing the sheets with it, to accentuate the effect.
If this trick seems surprising at first glance, it has shown its effectiveness with a large audience. If you don’t have Marseille soap, you can use a simple store-bought soap, as long as it is of good quality.
Some people manage to get rid of night cramps by placing one or more magnets under their mattresses. There are even magnetic mattresses that are supposed to limit the onset of cramps during sleep.
You can help your muscles relax by promoting the functioning of blood vessels with a shower that alternates between hot and cold. Start by wetting the legs, from the feet to the top of the thighs with cold water, for a few minutes to invigorate the muscles and wake them up. Then continue with a jet of hot water to relax them and make them more flexible.
To relax the muscles before going to bed, you can massage yourself with a preparation based on essential oils.
Here are the ingredients to plan
•Lavandin Abrial essential oil: 1 drop
•Clove essential oil: 1 drop
•essential oil of noble laurel: 1 drop
•Carrier oil: 1 tbsp
Mix the three essential oils with a carrier oil to obtain a lotion for a comforting massage before bed. Abrial lavender essential oil has relaxing properties and will help your muscles relax.
Clove essential oil is an excellent antispasmodic and will prevent muscle contractions. Finally, laurel essential oil has a toning action that will help your muscles function well during the day.
Apply this preparation to all of your legs and massage gently to make it penetrate. Attention, essential oils are strongly discouraged for pregnant women and children under 7 years old.