Muscle cramps are described as forcible and involuntary muscle contractions. Certain muscles of our body such as muscles of arms are legs can be controlled voluntarily. For example, we contract and relax these muscles whenever we wish to make a move. Whenever a muscle makes these contractions involuntarily, it contracts in a spasm. If a spasm is forceful and sustained it becomes a cramp, which is visible or obvious hardening of the muscle. Muscle cramps are often painful and may last from a couple of seconds to an hour. Cramps may affect only one part of the muscle or muscle as a whole. About 95 percent of people experience a cramp at some point in life. Cramps are not dangerous, nor considered a medical condition, but they are often unpleasant but there are a lot easy methods to control and prevent muscle cramps.
What causes muscle cramps?
Muscle cramps typically result following an injury. This is the body’s own protective mechanism to minimize the movement and prevent any kind of further injury. People often experience muscle cramps after a vigorous physical activity, as a result of muscle fatigue. Muscles can also become extremely tired after long series of repetitive movements. Sometimes, muscle cramps are occurring during the rest. Their exact cause is still unknown, but they tend to be very painful and often disrupt the sleep. Dehydration is another common cause of muscle cramps, as well as low levels of some of the important nutrients, especially calcium and magnesium.
Prevention of muscle cramps
Good way to prevent muscle cramps is to ensure the body is getting enough water. Depletion of body fluids is associated with risk of camps, and people should always try to keep up the daily intake on the optimum level. This will also prevent the excessive loss of sodium and increase the total blood volume, thus improving the circulation. Lack of fluids in the body will certainly cause an electrolyte imbalance, leading to muscle cramps.
It is also important to eat healthy and include a lot of calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B in the daily diet.
To prevent muscle cramps people should work on their overall fitness and try to avoid muscle fatigue to the greatest possible extent. Each physical activity should start with warm-up session, and it should end with a series of stretching exercises. People are also advised to limit their periods of physical inactivity, since many types of muscular cramps occur when people are just sitting for long time or lying in bed.