How to stop muscle cramps… and fast
For the average person, muscle cramps are a minor annoyance that occur from time to time. But for those who participate in an exercise like running, hiking, and swimming on a regular basis, muscle cramps can become more of an obstacle.
So the real question is: how do you stop muscle cramps and how do you stop muscle cramps fast?
From leg cramp and a calf muscle cramping up to foot cramp: muscle cramping is most common in people who do high intensity exercises that involve a lot of fast-twitch muscle tissue. Understanding what causes muscle cramp in the first place will help you take preventative measures.
What causes muscle cramps?
There are a number of theories as to what causes muscle cramps.
What are common causes of muscle cramps?
The most common causes of muscle cramps are: dehydration and a mineral imbalance. When nothing helps, you might want to go to a doctor or a physical therapist, because you might have a more serious condition and need serious medication.
On a less serious note: do you move your body enough? When the answer is no, but you tried a high intensity workout without stretching beforehand, your muscles will cramp up. Slow it down a little!
Last, but not least: pregnant women can experience a lot of discomforts, such as painful cramps and other symptoms. To prevent cramps when you are pregnant, try wearing supportive shoes to help carry the extra weight. We said it before and will say it again: stretching helps!
How to stop muscle cramps fast
If you find yourself experiencing cramps, you want the muscle cramps to stop fast. The best thing you can do is to stop moving as soon as you feel the cramp happening and gently stretch your muscles for a few seconds. This will help prevent them from getting worse and allow the affected muscle some time to relax and recover.
Relax your muscles, take it easy...
When the cramps hit, try to remain as relaxed as possible so that your muscles have a chance to relax and recover as quickly as possible. If you're cramping up during a more leisurely activity like swimming or hiking, stop moving, relax and try massaging the affected muscles.
A hot bath can also help relieve pain, and as an extra, you can locally apply heat to the cramped muscle. In short; a heating pad and a warm bath are not only a perfect way to get yourself some me-time, but also pain relief!
Preventing muscle cramp
If you know the signs of an impending cramp, you can often head them off at the pass by increasing your water and electrolyte intake. When you're thirsty, it's usually a sign that you've been working out for too long and are dehydrated.
Cramp is also a sign that your potassium levels are low. If you know you're going to be exercising for a long time, try to keep a sports drink or electrolyte water nearby and sip on it throughout the day.
Try to also get enough sleep in order to keep you properly hydrated and rested. Doing a light warm-up before you exercise can also help lower the risk of cramps.
What are 3 ways to prevent muscle cramps?
- Start with hydration. If your leg cramps at night, it's usually a sign that you are dehydrated or that you suffer from electrolyte imbalances. You can also try sports drinks to avoid dehydration or simply for a quick pick-me-up.
- When you suffer a lot from cramped muscles, for example leg cramps, the magic word is: relax. Take a warm bath, get yourself a massage, get a good night of sleep and stretch. Stretch a lot!
- When cramps happen during an intense workout, this might be a sign of muscle weakness. Again: stretching is important, but also: don't start off too intensely.
Alternative medicine and home remedies for cramping
If you know that muscle cramps, for example leg cramps, are usually caused by dehydration, then hydration is the logical first step. If you have a condition like diabetes, make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent low blood sugar levels.
The anti-cramp diet
Aside from drinking enough water and taking the time to relax your legs, keeping up a healthy diet is another way to keep cramped muscles at bay. Make sure you eat plenty of leafy greens like kale and spinach - these vegetables contain a lot of calcium and magnesium.
Take supplements to avoid deficiencies
Some experts also believe that cramps can be caused by a lack of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Eating something sugary like sports drinks or bananas will give your body some quick-burning fuel while also providing potassium. Elektrolytes help too, as a quick remedy.
You can add these minerals and vitamins as supplements to your daily diet.
Cramp Defense to the rescue
Cramp Defense is a magnesium supplement. One of the causes of muscle cramps throughout the entire body, including leg cramps, is a magnesium deficiency.
Fix this deficiency quickly and permanently with premium high-absorbing magnesium - without the side effects. Taking these Cramp Defense supplements is an easy way to prevent muscle cramp and painful things like charley horse (severe leg pain and calf cramps).
Are your muscles in a pickle?
Did you know that adding pickle juice to your diet does wonders to preventing muscle cramps? Pickle juice may trigger 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.
This is not (yet) scientifically proven.
Bottom line - your cramped muscle will thank you!
The best way to stop muscle cramp is to make sure you're properly hydrated and well rested so that you can get the nutrients and rest you need. If you're planning on participating in a high-intensity or long-lasting physical activity, make sure to also increase your electrolyte and potassium intake beforehand.
If you still experience muscle cramp, applying a heating pad on the cramped muscle will make it way less painful in no time. Gently stretch the muscle to get extra relief.
Don't forget you can always add some supplements to your diet. This will help you with muscle cramp in your leg muscles, calves, feet and thigh muscles. Cramp Defense offers premium high-absorbing minerals that you can take as a bonus in your diet.
If you've tried everything and you're still cramping up, it's best to see a doctor. Cramps are usually not a serious condition, but you should make sure you rule out any potential underlying causes.
First and foremost, stretching the cramps out. When you lean forward, the muscles in your affected leg will get extra blood supply and they will thank you later. When you suffer from cramps at night, a gentle stretch works wonders as well.
Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax. For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly. If you're unable to stand, sit on the floor or in a chair with your affected leg extended.
Try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side toward 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.
Most of the time, a muscle cramp is no big deal — although, admittedly, it can still be very painful in the moment. It just happens sometimes.
But if you're getting muscle cramps frequently, and especially if you have other symptoms of weakness or muscle loss, it might be wise to go see a doctor.
Some medical conditions or certain medications can cause these symptoms. A doctor can test for hormonal disorders or imbalances and other risk factors.
By forcefully stretching the affected muscle (for example, stretch your calf muscle by flexing your foot upward) the other way. Jiggle your leg, massage it, or force yourself to walk. It might also help to apply ice or heat – use a heating pad or take a warm bath. Both warmth and cold work, but we can imagine heat feels better.
Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — also can deplete these minerals. 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!
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.
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.