Leg Cramps, Muscle Spasms: Definition, Causes, Treatment, Prevention.

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Muscle cramps are sudden, painful contractions of one or more muscles. They are involuntary, and they affect the mobility of the involved limb.

Leg cramps, mainly the calf muscle, is the most affected. In many cases, spasm is harmless, and last only from a few seconds to several minutes.

This is a fairly common condition. Most people experience it during their lifetime.

It occurs more frequently in the young generation, especially athletes that overuse their muscles during competitive sports.

Older people experience muscle cramps also, due to weakened muscles that cannot keep up with the requirements of daily life activities.

However, you can develop muscle cramps at any age, especially if it results from a secondary health condition.

The causes of leg cramps are not always known, but dehydration or overuse of the muscle can lead to this condition.

Weather factors play a role. Too hot or too cold temperatures increase the chances of developing cramps.

some muscle spasms may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as:

Electrolyte or vitamins deficiency.

vessels obstruction.

thyroid dysfunction,
or low blood sugar.

Muscle spasms can also be the side effect of some medications,
like statins, medicines used to lower cholesterol levels.
diuretics and birth control pills.

Too much caffeine or alcohol can be factors for muscle cramps.

If your leg spasms wake you up at night, this condition is called nocturnal leg cramps. Such a condition is more often linked to the nervous system, and not vessels obstruction.

To stop leg cramps immediately, you should forcefully stretch the affected muscle, which will normally promote rapid relief.

Cold pads, or warm pads can reduce the severity of pain.
A warm bath promotes relaxation of the muscles.
A gentle rub can also provide relief.

after the cramp occurs, you can implement some of the following measures to prevent this condition from happening again:

Drink enough water to be adequately hydrated.

Limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine.

Consuming enough protein, is vital for the muscle tissues to repair themselves properly.

Eat a healthy diet, or supplements to replace a deficiency in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Bananas are rich in some of these minerals.

Some studies, showed a particular benefit of vitamin B6, in reducing the occurrence of leg cramps of unknown causes.

To prevent muscle cramps from happening during an activity, take the time to stretch and warm up the targeted muscle group, then gradually increase the activity, and remain well hydrated all the time.

To treat Muscle cramps with a known cause, we should treat the underlying problem first to resolve the recurring muscle spams.

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