Muscle cramps are forceful and involuntary contractions of the muscles. The most common location of muscle cramps are in the legs because of constant contraction while walking. Leg cramps may be very painful at the moment it develops, but it can also be relieved in a matter of minutes. Almost everyone has experienced leg cramps in some points in their lives. Muscle cramps usually last for seconds or a minute, but some may experience longer and sustained contractions for almost 15 minutes. Once muscle cramps occur, it causes a palpable hardening of the affected muscle. Muscle cramps are more common in adults than in children because of build-up of toxins in the muscles as well as the intake of various medications and substances that can lead to leg cramps. The main mechanism of leg cramps is the absence of calcium that causes muscle relaxation after every contraction. It can also be caused by lack of potassium and magnesium in the body. In order to manage leg cramps, here are the top 10 leg cramps remedies you can do at home and during the time you experience leg cramps.
Dorsiflexion becomes the initial management for leg cramps. In order to relieve the muscle cramps, muscle stretching should be done. Extend the leg and bend the foot towards the shin. Doing this relieves leg cramps in seconds because stretching of the muscles on the legs relieves over contraction.
Massage is also a good way to relax the spastic muscles on the foot. While dorsiflexing the foot, have someone massage the calf muscles. If you are alone, try to reach for your calf and make a circulating massage on the area.
3. Take a warm shower
Warm shower usually promotes muscle relaxation because the heat improves the blood circulation in the area and improves the flow of electrolytes in the muscles for a better contraction and relaxation mechanism. If you experience frequent leg cramps at night, have a warm shower before bedtime.
4. Stretching exercises
Stretching exercise is also effective in treating and preventing leg cramps. Perform stretching exercises everyday and hold the position for 30 seconds while you are on the full stretch. Make sure to warm up and cool down after stretching exercises.
5. Increase fluid intake
During intense exercises or activities, keeping your body hydrated also conserves the electrolytes in the blood preventing possible leg cramps.
6. Increase intake of magnesium, potassium and calcium in the diet
These three electrolytes are the most important in muscle contraction. Calcium is found in dairy products, milk, sardines, anchovies, broccoli and many others. You can also increase calcium by taking calcium supplements. Magnesium is also found in dairy products, and similarly, you can have magnesium supplements along with calcium. Potassium is almost present in all fruits and vegetables so increase intake of these essential nutrients.
7. Apple cider vinegar
You can mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider with a teaspoon of honey in a glass of warm water. This prevents leg cramps because apple cider is rich in potassium.
Mustard is also a popular remedy of leg cramps among athletes. Add mustard to your sandwiches or salads. It is high in acetic acid, which will help the body synthesize acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter for muscle contraction.
9. Pickle juice
Pickle juice is also beneficial to leg cramps similar to the action of mustard in improving the acetylcholine release in the muscles.
10. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is a popular remedy for menstrual cramps as well as leg cramps. Chamomile contains glycine, which is essential in helping the muscles relax. Drinking chamomile tea everyday not only prevents leg cramps, but also promotes well-being.
Treating and preventing leg cramps involves an interplay y of proper nutrition, good exercise and relaxation. Having leg cramps may be common, but ensuring a good well-being helps in preventing such.