Published: 04/22/2015 - Updated: 05/18/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Relax a bit and let go of the tension and excessive energy. Spasms or cramps are caused when a muscle tenses or contracts involuntarily, which is to say, without making any sort of effort. This is due primarily to stored tension. These spasms can occur in any part of the body that has a muscle. They can happen in one or several muscles, the calves and thighs being to most prone to cramps.
Spasms are generally accompanied by the following symptoms
- The muscle feels hard or tense.
- A feeling of contraction.
- Pain, according to the severity of the spasm.
- The pain and cramp could last for some time, according to the conditions surrounding it.
Causes of muscle cramps or spasms
- Lack of minerals in the body, like potassium or calcium.
- Excessive physical activity which exhausts the muscles.
- Lack of water circulating through the body (dehydration).
- Exercise overload.
- Lack of physical or mental rest.
- They can occur after intense physical exercise.
- Lack of muscle rest or recovery in training sessions.
- A deficient diet or intestines that prevent correct nutrient absorption.
Other less common causes of cramps include:
- Kidney failure
- Prolonged or heavy menstruation
What to do if you get a muscle spasm or cramp
- The first thing is undoubtedly rest. If the cramp lasts for a long time, gently massage the affected area, depending on where it is. If you have cramps in your feet, you can massage them by pushing your toes in the opposite direction of the cramp. If you’re experiencing abdomen spasms, just rest. Neck cramps should be softened with a massage, and by drinking sufficient amounts of water.
- Once your cramp goes away, apply a bit of ice.
- If the spasm lasts for a long time, anti-inflammatories may be helpful. Try natural ways of reducing inflammation.
- Drink at least two liters of fresh water a day. Depending on whether or not you exercise, your body may be more prone to dehydration and therefore, more cramps.
- Try to relax, and if you feel worried, don’t forget to practice yoga or tai chi so that your muscles don’t grow tired from overload, either physical or mental.
- Athletic beverages that have added minerals could help replace anything lost during prolonged physical activity. Drink one or two of these beverages a day, and eat a diet rich in raw and steamed vegetables so that your body has enough minerals.
- Drink juice made with carrots, celery and aloe, and smoothies made with almond milk and bananas, every day, especially if you exercise. Foods that cure and prevent cramps include: walnuts, bananas, almonds, nuts, dark leafy greens, fresh vegetable salads, raw garlic at night, citrus juice before breakfast, etc. Try to avoid refined sugar, which robs the body of minerals and calcium. Substitute cow’s milk for plant-based milk, like oatmeal, rice, soy, almond, etc. These are much easier on the stomach and they help nutrient absorption.
- Do not over-train because this could tire your muscles. Always remember to give yourself rest and one or two days of not doing anything so that the muscle can completely recover.
- Stretch daily to improve flexibility.
- Whenever you feel a cramp coming on, don’t resist it. Feel it, because if not, this will only tense the body even more. Whenever you feel a cramp, breathe deeply and try to naturally relax the area of your body that is tense. Place your hand over it and gently press the cramped area.
Emotional causes of spasms or cramps
Another influential cause of spasms, especially when occurring constantly, is trying to cling to situations or people, or some fear that prevents you from flowing and relaxing. In this case, consider new ways of confronting life situations, and don’t cling to what is no longer good for you, or that which harms you. Let life and new options flow, and develop confidence in yourself and life. Read things that make you feel more comfortable and confident.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 05/18/2018
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