Once you know how to relieve cramps and ease pain it can give you a confidence in your life.
Just imagine – you are out and about living your busy life and – suddenly – you get a cramp in your leg, for instance.
For many people, once this happens, their whole day can be spoiled.
But once you know what to do – you just deal with the cramp and then carry on with whatever you were doing.
Cramps can be extremely painful and can last several minutes. And then they can just come back again.
And so, just how can you relieve cramps and ease pain? And what is cramp anyway?
Cramp is simply an involuntary shortening and tensing of a muscle. And it can occur anywhere in the body, although it most commonly occurs on the legs, feet, arms and hands which are known as skeletal muscles.
There is another type of cramp which occurs in the smooth muscles of the uterus and which happens when the menstrual periods occur in women. I will discuss these separately. (photo credit)
How To Relieve Cramps And Ease Pain
It must be said that there is no one reason why skeletal muscles cramp. However, there are common factors which can lead to cramping and the principles I will describe are those that I have found to be effective:-
The first thing to do when you have muscle cramps is to stop the activity you are doing and take control. You may have pain but you know that the pain will stop. But what you are going to do is to help the cramp to stop as quickly as possible.
You will know where the cramp is occuring. You can feel it can’t you? but if you aren’t sure you can find the cramping muscle by feeling around the area, this is the first step in how to relieve cramps and ease pain. The cramping muscles will feel harder to the touch than the others. You may also see that the cramping muscle is twitching (see video below which shows exaggerated movements of cramping muscles).
Once you have found the muscle causing the problem. you now need to help it to relax because a relaxed muscle just cannot cramp!
The easiest way to relax the muscle is by actually causing the opposing muscle to stretch and contract. For instance if you have a cramp in your bicep you stretch and contract the triceps of the same arm by straightening your arm and contracting the tricep muscle
Once you can feel that that the cramping muscle has started relaxing you have almost done the job.
But now, just spend a few minutes massaging the cramping muscle – this will relax the muscle fibres completely – and your cramp will have gone in most cases.
You Have Applied Reciprocal Inhibition
The process I have just described is called reciprocal inhibition and is explained more fully in How To Relieve Cramps In 6 Easy Steps
The video below shows how a cramping muscle can cause twitching, although I think part of it is self induced. See what you think….
Extra Steps To Relieve Cramps And Ease Pain
Once the cramping is passed, there are a couple of extra things you can do to help prevent future attacks:-
Balance The Electrolytes
You can balance your physiological electrolytes by:-
- Keeping well hydrated, drinking at least one and a halft litres of water each day, more when exercising – especially in warm conditions.
- Maintaining balanced electrolytes in the blood. You can do this by drinking sports drinks, taking supplements of calcium and potassioum and eating a balnced diest that contains sufficient calcium, potassium and magnesium .
Improving Muscular Condition
- Train at the correct level for the challenges you take part in. Do not overstress your muscles. Straining muscles to beyond their capabilities depletes their strength and can weaken them. Progress in an orderly fashion.
- Make time for stretching your muscles, it is an important part of improving your strength and improving flexibility.
What methods do you find most helpful to helping to relieve cramps and ease pain?