Muscle Spasms & Cramps – meaning
A Muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction or tightening of a muscle that comes on suddenly.
It’s painful and lasts a short time, often occurring in the legs.
Muscle cramps at night especially in the calves, are very common. Most muscle cramps develop in the leg muscles, particularly in the calf. Women are more likely to suffer from nocturnal leg cramps than men.
Muscle Spasms & Cramps – Difference:
Muscle spasms are forceful and involuntary. A sustained Muscle Spasm is called a Muscle Cramp. Cramps are caused by muscle spasms.
Causes of Muscle Spasms & Cramps
- Muscle spasms occur when a muscle is overused (muscle fatigue), previously injured, or strained muscle. Also if muscle has been held in same position for a long period of time.
- Inadequate blood supply. Caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to your legs, this can lead to cramps in your legs while exercising.
- Nerve compression. in your spine can produce cramp-like pain in your legs. The pain often worsens the longer you walk.
- Mineral depletion – (Electrolyte imbalances) Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps.
- Pregnancy. Cramps may occur because of reduced amounts of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
- When you are dehydrated, meaning that your body has lost too much fluids. Especially when you take diuretics.
- Exercising in heated temperatures.
Muscle Spasm, Cramps – Natural Treatment & Home Remedies
- Stretching exercises help muscles so that they are less likely to strain
- Make sure you are well-hydrated
- Apply cold ice or heat therapy, use a heat pad; helps to relax muscle spasms. Or massaging the cramped muscle with ice may relieve pain.
- Muscle relaxants inhibit painful contractions
- Maintaining good levels of electrolytes will help, too.
- Sports drinks can help replace lost sodium and potassium.
- Stretching and massaging the area relieves a muscle cramp.
- Use a heated water bottle to relax a cramped muscle. A cold pack helps relieve pain.
- Massage area. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax.
- If you are pregnant make sure you are eating foods that are rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium.
- Ride a bike or stationary bike to stretch your muscles.
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