Muscle contractions or cramps affect muscles that are strained intensely without prior warm-up. It is an involuntary, abrupt and painful contraction of a segment of muscle or several muscles for a few seconds.
Definition of cramps
Cramping occurs faster than curly, after too much intense or long exercise or as a result of heavy sweating. It prevents full mobility of the affected limb and is favoured by a muscle lesion not fully healed. The painr is increased to palpation and movement. You can feel an induration.
Little is known about the origin of nocturnal calf cramps and why they preferably occur at night; it may be attributed to a lack of water or mineral salts.
Muscle cramps are said to be essential because, without any apparent cause, affect the adult of any age but preferably affect the elderly.
How to avoid cramps
Some simple measures or precautions can help to avoid cramps and any treatment should only be considered after these preventive measures have failed.
Consume enough carbohydrates (sugar) before exercise (refer to “Scandinavian dissociated diet and its derivatives”) but also during exercise if it is long; not to mention a recovery ration adapted to the effort.
- Adopt a balanced and varied diet to avoid vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies.Aim for a good acid-base balance of the body by favoring alkalizing foods, fruits, green vegetables and reducing the fat content in cold cuts, fatty meats.
For potassium that plays an important role in the transmission of nerve impulses, you can find it on foods such as pulses, wheat germs, lentils, spinach
For magnesium, eat cereals, green vegetables, fish and move away from refined products like bread
- Eat a dairy at each meal (increase calcium intake).
- Consult your doctor if you are on a low sodium diet or taking diuretics
Hydrate yourself enough: drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day.
- Choose mineral water rich in magnesium.
- Consume little water before exercise, then more importantly after exercise
- Be careful not to consume too much coffee or tea before exercise; caffeine can promote cramps.
- Reduce your alcohol intake.
Drugs responsible for cramps
Some medications can cause cramps such as antiasthmatics (terbutaline, salbutamol), anti-cholesterol (statins), antibiotics in the quinolone family, diuretic drugs, nifedipine, angiotensin II inhibitors and acne inhibitors.
Drugs that prevent and treat malaria, certain treatments for cancer (Cisplatin), HIV infection (AIDS), lithium… can also cause cramps.
- Do regular physical activity to facilitate blood flow.
- In athletes, it is important to practice an effective warm-up before exercise in order to limit the appearance of cramps.It should be long enough, progressive and adapted (general stretching and easing, then specific gestures of your sport).
- Hydrate yourself.Don’t forget to drink before, during and after exercise, even when swimming…
- During the effort; adopt a good posture, vary the gestures to the maximum to avoid the same muscles being constantly stressed. Don’t go beyond your abilities, know how to stop at the right time, do regular stretches during exercise
Don’t stop the effort abruptly: Finish your physical activity gently with stretching to restore elasticity to the contracted muscles. Stretch your muscles smoothly, 5 times each for about 10 seconds
Exercise to prevent calf cramps
Practice the following exercise several times a day:
Stand, face to face, about fifty centimetres from a wall, then lean against it by folding your arms and keeping the entire sole of the foot in contact with the ground. Then hold the position in which you feel a slight calf strain for ten to twenty seconds. Release. You can feel the muscle relax. After a few weeks, the cramps may disappear.
Take a hot bath or hot shower after exercise to relax the muscles and soothe the pain. Local heat application can be continued with patches or heating compresses.
What to do in case of cramps?
In case of cramps:
- Slowly stretch the affected muscle group for about 30 seconds.
- Massage simultaneously to promote vascular drainage of the muscle.
- Contract the muscles opposed to those that make you suffer
- Apply ice to contracted muscles
- Resume activity slowly.
- Take a hot shower.