How to prevent muscle cramp
Cramp Defense: How to prevent muscle cramps
From leg cramp or a calf muscle cramping up to foot cramp: muscle cramping is a common thing. But that doesn’t make it any less painful! Muscle cramps can be a real pain in the butt… and leg, calf, feet… Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help prevent these annoying and painful muscle spasms.
So the question is: how do you prevent muscle cramps in the future and save yourself from a lot of pain? Keep reading to discover the solution to all your cramped muscles.
But, understanding what makes a muscle spasm in the first place will help you take preventative measures. We will show you how to relax your cramping muscles.
What causes muscle cramps?
Muscle cramps or spasms, such as leg cramps or a sharp pain in the calves, also known as charley horse, are fairly common. A much used explanation is that muscle cramps are caused by dehydration, magnesium deficiency, electrolyte imbalances or inadequate blood supply to the muscle.
When your body is not used to intense exercise, it may not be able to handle the sudden increase in demand for energy and oxygen. When this happens, muscles fatigue and as a result muscles contract and cramp up as a protective mechanism.
Muscle fatigue can cause muscle spasms, which not only feel uncomfortable, but the intense pain can keep you up at night. Your muscle can still feel quite sore the next day.
Preventing muscle cramps 101
If you love high intensity exercise and vigorous workouts, make sure you avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of water and, if you need to quickly raise your blood sugar level, a sports drink.
Make sure your muscles are warmed up and already filled with energy, by stretching them thoroughly. Otherwise, like mentioned above, your muscles may cramp up. If you feel pain for a longer period of time or you experience additional symptoms to your muscle cramp, it might be wise to visit a doctor for more health tips. You might be experiencing an underlying medical condition, such as low thyroid gland function.
Relaxing, massaging, stretching your muscles
To prevent cramping muscles, be sure to stretch the affected muscle. Afterwards you can massage the muscle tissue gently, or go for a deep tissue massage to reach the muscle tissue beneath superficial ones. A physical therapist will also know what to do, especially with older adults or people whose legs and feet are in pain a lot.
Make sure to relax and take breaks in between one exercise and the other to prevent cramps, to do lots of flexibility exercises to loosen up your muscles and to stretch before AND after each workout. Doing a light warm-up before you exercise can also help lower the risk of cramps.
Hot tip: take a warm bath. While you're in the water, gently massage each muscle - especially those in your lower legs, calves and back. A heating pad on your leg muscles will also feel mighty fine. Last, but not least: try to get enough sleep in order to keep you properly hydrated and rested. Especially when you are a physically active person, this is important to prevent further damage like muscle strain.
Supplementing against muscle cramp
When your muscle cramps, or your muscle spasms regularly, it might be a good idea to add some supplements to your diet. You can resolve muscle fatigue by supplementing with electrolytes, such as magnesium and calcium.
Painful muscles? Cramp Defense to the rescue!
Cramp Defense® is designed to prevent leg cramps, muscle cramps, and muscle spasms caused by magnesium deficiency. Cramp Defense is a premium highly absorbable magnesium - without the nasty side effects such as nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. In addition, the magnesium in supplements can interact with some types of antibiotics and other medicines.
Taking these Cramp Defense supplements is an easy way to prevent muscle cramp, severe pain during cramps at night and other involuntary contractions. For more tips on how to supplement, keep an eye on our website and blogs.
Eating and drinking the right things
Did you know that enough liquid can prevent dehydration? Yes, because we've told you before. But did you know that pickle juice is one of these effective liquids? It triggers a reflex in the mouth that sends a signal to the nerves to stop muscles from cramping. Some say the high levels of electrolytes in pickle juice help with cramp as well. Although this is not scientifically proven, a lot of athletes swear by the sour brine.
Fresh orange juice supposedly also helps with muscle cramps, because it is rich in potassium and magnesium. This might be a more enticing idea.
Foods that are rich in these minerals are leafy greens like kale and spinach, bananas, avocados and watermelon (hello hydration!). Make sure you incorporate these nutrients in your diet and your cramps will be in the past!
This is your anti-muscle cramp grocery list:
- bananas (potassium, magnesium, calcium)
- avocado (potassium)
- watermelon (antioxidants, potassium)
- spinach (magnesium)
- kale (magnesium)
- beans (potassium, magnesium)
- sweet potato (potassium)
With these ingredients you can whip up a lovely stew, curry (just add coconut milk) or salad. Just add some protein and vitamin C and you have the perfect after workout meal!
Preventing muscle cramps - In a nutshell
The best way to prevent cramps is to make sure you're properly hydrated and well rested so that your body can get the nutrients and rest it needs. Get yourself on a diet filled with potassium, magnesium and calcium, and drink a lot of water.
If you're planning on participating in a high intensity or long-lasting physical activity, make sure to also increase your electrolyte intake beforehand and to warm up and cool down properly. Even though you might not feel like it; it will save you from painful charley horses in your calves and more.
If you've tried everything and you're still cramping up, it's best to see a doctor. Cramps are usually not a sign of a serious condition, but you should make sure you rule out any potential of an underlying medical condition.
Having a magnesium deficiency can be a cause of muscle cramps. And it's common for people to need more magnesium. Dehydration, a deficiency of water, is also a common cause of muscle cramp and cramping legs.
Otherwise known as muscle cramps, spasms occur when your muscle involuntarily and forcibly contracts and can't relax. These muscle spasms are very common and can affect your whole body. They can involve part or all of a muscle, or a muscle group. To stop muscle cramps or spasms on the stop, you need to stretch the affected muscle for a few seconds until you feel relief.
Try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side towards your head, while your leg remains in a straightened position. This will also help ease a back thigh (hamstring) cramp. For a front thigh (quadriceps) cramp, use a chair to steady yourself and try pulling your foot on the affected side up toward your buttock.
Every person needs a daily supply of magnesium for optimal health, but most people don't get enough from their diet. Cheap drug-store magnesium supplements don't absorb well, have unpleasant side effects, and come bulked with unnecessary fillers and binders. Cramp Defense® is different. Containing our proprietary magnesium blend Truemag®, it is designed to be pure, safe, non-laxative and high-absorbing.
Cramp Defense® is designed to prevent leg cramps, muscle cramps, and muscle spasms caused by magnesium deficiency. This means (for best results) you should take it every day, to maintain high magnesium levels. However, you should take as few capsules as necessary to see results. We recommend you take it with food, to maximize absorption.
Most people know the pain of a muscle cramp or ‘charley horse’. Although they are common, they can be quite painful. Don’t worry, they don't usually cause damage. If you have other symptoms next to ‘regular’ cramps, or the pain lasts longer than usual, it might be wise to consult a doctor.
Because magnesium plays a role in neuromuscular transmission and muscle contraction, it has been hypothesised that magnesium deficiency may cause to muscle cramps. That is why magnesium supplements are often recommended to prevent cramps. Next to magnesium, potassium is another mineral that helps with this. You can find potassium in bananas, for example.
A chronic salt habit can cause increased responses to different stimuli. This can lead to muscle contractions and cramps, which can be harmful to internal organs.
On the other hand, intravenous saline or sodium can reverse heat cramping and more salt in the diet and in sports drinks can help prevent heat cramping.