Have you ever been abruptly awoken because your calf muscles felt like they were completely locked? How about being stopped right in your tracks because your muscles are aching?
At some point, we all experience muscle cramps, and the likelihood of them occurring increases with age. That’s because we decrease our activity levels.
Luckily, muscle cramps aren’t life-threatening, but they are super painful and can prevent you from moving temporarily. So, you will want to know how to relieve muscle cramps so you can get back to doing what you love.
What is a muscle cramp and how is it caused?
Before we get into the remedies for muscle cramps, it’s important to understand what they are and how they are caused. A muscle cramp is an involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. Common causes of muscle cramps include excessive exercise, not enough exercise, physical labor, hot weather, vitamin deficiencies, poor circulation, and even certain medications and medical conditions.
Natural remedies for painful muscle cramps
Stretching: It may seem impossible to stretch a cramping muscle, but doing so will offer quicker relief. If you experience cramps in your legs or calves, walking around or performing leg stretches will generally help. You can also speak to your doctor or physiotherapist about other types of stretches.
Massaging: Doing it yourself or going for regular massages will keep muscles soft and less tense.
Heat: Soaking in a hot bath or applying a heating pad to a cramping muscle will ease the pain. For greater relief, add some Epsom salt into your hot bath, as it contains magnesium that is known to reduce muscle cramps. You can even soak a towel in hot water and apply Epsom salt to it.
Stay hydrated: Dehydration can lead to an increase of muscle cramps, so as a treatment and preventative measure, ensure you are staying well hydrated. This is particularly important on hot days when you are more likely to sweat. If you’re experiencing a muscle cramp, you may also want to opt for a sports drink, as they contain electrolytes.
Although muscle cramps are painful, you don’t need to suffer through them if you follow these natural remedies.