Fit Bit

Man­age your mus­cle cramps

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

It’s hap­pened be­fore on oc­ca­sion. From the bliss of sound sleep, you’re sud­denly awak­ened by a painful mus­cle cramp in your lower leg. Lately, though, you’ve be­ing awak­ened by leg cramps sev­eral times a week. Should you be con­cerned? Mus­cle cramps like this are fairly com­mon among ath­letes and older adults. Many times they’re harm­less. But they can some­times be brought on by cer­tain med­i­ca­tions or they may in­di­cate the pres­ence of cer­tain dis­or­ders.

Mus­cle Move­ment

Your mus­cles are made of many fi­bres that can con­tract and re­lax. This al­lows the fi­bres to shorten and lengthen ac­cord­ing to the move­ment you’re mak­ing at the time.

Mus­cle cramps dif­fer from stiff­ness or leg pain. A cramp oc­curs when a mus­cle con­tracts in­vol­un­tar­ily in a sud­den, in­tense man­ner, pro­duc­ing a lump of tight­ened mus­cle you can feel with your hand. It’s typ­i­cally a re­sponse to a stress or chem­i­cal im­bal­ance in the mus­cle’s en­vi­ron­ment.

Sort­ing Out The Cause

Some com­mon causes of mus­cle cramps in­clude: Mus­cle overuse, strain or pro­longed ex­er­cise. Be­ing de­hy­drated and los­ing too much salt due to ex­er­cise or due to pro­longed ill­ness in­volv­ing vom­it­ing or di­ar­rhoea. Cer­tain med­i­ca­tions. Low lev­els of blood cal­cium. Less com­monly, mus­cle cramps may be caused by dis­eases af­fect­ing your pe­riph­eral nerves – the nerves that ex­tend from your spinal cord to nearly all other parts of your body. Pe­riph­eral nerves are the con­duc­tors of in­for­ma­tion be­tween your brain and your or­gans, blood ves­sels, mus­cles and skin. Dam­age to a pe­riph­eral nerve (pe­riph­eral neu­ropa­thy) can in­ter­rupt com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines be­tween the brain and the area served by the dam­aged nerve. Pe­riph­eral neu­ropa­thy that pro­duces mus­cle cramp­ing may oc­cur with a num­ber of con­di­tions, in­clud­ing di­a­betes, thy­roid dis­ease and au­toim­mune dis­eases such as rheuma­toid arthri­tis.

When To See Your Doc­tor

Mus­cle cramps of­ten have no iden­ti­fi­able cause. But if you have fre­quent, se­vere mus­cle cramps, a doc­tor’s visit is ap­pro­pri­ate. You’ll likely have tests that in­clude a neu­ro­logic exam and pos­si­bly

other test­ing. You may be re­ferred to a spe­cial­ist in neu­ro­mus­cu­lar dis­eases.

What You Can Do

Be­low are sev­eral preven­tive steps you can take to curb or avoid mus­cle cramps: Drink flu­ids to avoid de­hy­dra­tion – re­hy­drat­ing with sport drinks is ad­vis­able with sus­tained heavy ex­er­cise and sweat­ing. Warm up be­fore more in­tense ex­er­cise. Cool down and stretch af­ter. Avoid over-work­ing mus­cles. Be­fore bed, gen­tly stretch mus­cles that tend to cramp at night. If you do get a leg or foot cramp, gen­tly stretch the con­tracted mus­cle for re­lief. You may find it helps to com­press or massage the af­fected mus­cle. Some­times a heat­ing pad or hot bath may of­fer re­lief. If your mus­cle cramps don’t re­spond to th­ese preven­tive mea­sures, your doc­tor may sug­gest tak­ing med­i­ca­tion, such as qui­nine, to help re­lieve cramp­ing. How­ever, qui­nine is known to cause po­ten­tially se­ri­ous blood reactions in some peo­ple. Dis­cuss with your doc­tor the pros and cons of its use as well as what other med­i­ca­tion op­tions might be suit­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.