Cramps are abrupt, involuntary muscle contractions and can occur in any muscle(s) throughout the body but are most common at the back and front of your thighs or the back of the lower legs. Sometimes referred to as Charley horses, muscle cramps can be painful and scary, and to effectively get rid of them, it is essential to understand their causes.
So, what exactly are your muscle cramps trying to tell you?
You Might Have Muscle Fatigue
A strenuous bout of exercising often follows muscle cramps. This intense workout can lead to muscle fatigue, which is the most common cause of cramping. Other times, improper dehydration before a workout session can also lead to muscle cramps, bringing us to our second point.
You Might Be Dehydrated
The fluids in your body play an important role in keeping your muscles relaxed. So, when the body loses excessive amounts of fluid, it causes the muscles to dehydrate, leading to irritation and, consequently, cramping.
You Might Have Overworked Your Muscles
Another way intense exercise can cause cramping is by overworking your muscles. Extreme physical activity can cause your spinal nerves to become too excited and, therefore, fire involuntarily – this leads to contracted muscles indicative of cramping.
Note that the definition of ‘overuse’ is subjective – if you have an overall sedentary lifestyle, even mild activities such as hiking or gardening might lead to muscle overuse.
You Sit or Stand For Long Periods
Since we are on sedentary lifestyles, let us discuss how such a lifestyle can even be a more direct contributor to muscle cramping. When you stand for extended periods at a stretch, it can cause your leg muscles to tire and cramp. Meanwhile, excessive sitting can leave the muscles in the same position for a long time, causing cramps and spasms.
So, if you have a job that requires you to stand or sit for hours on end, make sure that you keep switching between the two positions so that your muscles continue to get some much-needed movement.
Certain Medications Might Be Responsible
Medications used to treat high cholesterol, asthma, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, tend to cause muscle cramps. If you think that medications might cause your muscle cramps, discuss the issue with your doctor and inquire about possible substitutes for those medicines.
You Might Be Deficient In Certain Minerals
The cell muscles in your legs contain potassium, and the mineral makes sure that the muscles are only contracting when needed. Therefore, potassium deficiency means that the muscles do not receive adequate signals, leading to prolonged contractions. If you are experiencing muscle cramps, get yourself tested to make sure that you are not deficient in potassium – and if you are, bananas are an excellent food to boost your potassium levels.
To conclude, muscle cramps are unpleasant at best and excruciating at worst. By identifying the cause behind muscle cramping, you can make the required modifications or get the right treatment to improve your condition.