Published: 09/03/2018 - Updated: 02/28/2019
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Cramps, or involuntary muscular contractions could be due to several different causes that are easy to cure. If you want to know more about this topic, here we will tell you about the most common causes of cramps, and how to find a solution for them.
Causes of Cramps
- Lack of blood flow (insufficient oxygen)
- Excessive loss of liquids and mineral salts
- Prolonged efforts
- Brisk, sudden, or strong movements (when the muscle is cold)
- Accumulation of lactic acid
- Brisk contact with cold water
- Kidney failure
- Muscle fatigue
- Metabolic problems
- Low levels of magnesium and calcium in the body
- Improper posture while sleeping or studying for long periods of time in the same position
- Lack of vitamins or minerals in the body, primarily calcium and magnesium
- Stomach cramps are caused by the blood rushing principally to the stomach after eating, for digestion. If you exercise, the muscle that is working will demand blood, and this will rob it from the stomach, which is why it is necessary to avoid exercising or making physical efforts after eating.
- Hand cramps are primarily due to circulation problems or carpal tunnel syndrome, which effects people who use the computer or the mouse a lot.
- Emotional tension or prolonged or excessive anxiety caused by being very possessive or stubborn.
Symptoms of cramps
- Local pain in the affected area.
- Sensation of a torn muscle, or tingling
Natural remedies for cramps
- The best thing you can do during a cramp is to lightly stretch the affected area: this will relieve the pain and will help the muscle to return to a relaxed position.
- You should follow a high quality diet, try to include foods rich in calcium (oranges, almonds, broccoli, vegetables, soy milk, etc.), and magnesium (walnuts, whole grains, beans, cacao, soy flour, seaweed, etc.).
- If your cramps are contractions in the neck area, these can be alleviated by going to a good physiotherapist and by sleeping without a pillow. You should try to give yourself a good massage.
- Practicing Yoga and Tai-Chi help your muscles to be very flexible and tension-free.
- Running and doing physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, so the blood oxygenates all your tissues and muscles, and provides ample nutrients.
- Massage, thalassotherapy, reflexology, Chinese or Swiss massage help free accumulated tensions in the muscles and promote oxygen circulation and irrigation. Massages are great during pregnancy, but consult your doctor regarding which ones are best for you.
- Leg cramps can be prevented by giving yourself a good massage, or by elevating your legs at night and pretending to ride a bike. You should also begin to check that you are not lacking any calcium or potassium in your diet.
- If you exercise a lot, keep proper amounts of electrolytes in your body. For this, drink isotonic drinks to prevent dehydration
NOTE: avoid giving yourself any type of massage after having eaten.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 02/28/2019
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