To be purely scientific: Muscle cramping is cause by involuntary contractions of the muscle tissues. Muscle cramping is also incredibly, incredibly sore.
Although health professionals cannot determine a specific cause for muscle cramps, there are several factors that seem to be linked to muscle cramping.
Possible causes for muscle cramps:
- Low blood-calcium levels
- Low blood-salt levels
- Low blood-potassium levels
- Cold temperatures
In addition, muscle cramping can also be a complication associated with kidney disease, pregnancy, multiple sclerosis, restless legs syndrome, fibroid disease and varicose veins. Perhaps the most common causes for muscle cramps are imbalances in the body’s electrolyte levels.
Hypokalaemia is a condition where the body lacks potassium. Similarly, low calcium levels are called hypocalcaemia. These conditions most often result when heavy perspiring causes the body to get rid of too much intestinal fluid. Intestinal fluid is really just salt water. If we supplement our bodies with the correct nutrients, this can be easily avoided. This means less time writhing around on the floor in agony.
Muscle cramping explained:
- Intestinal fluid levels become too low – often while exercising or exerting the body;
- This causes the loss of osmotically active particles around muscle tissue cells;
- The resulting osmotic imbalance causes the muscles to swell;
- A calcium pump is created between the sarcoplasmic recticulum and the muscle lumen;
- This causes calcium ions to short circuit and thereby stay attached to the troponin;
- The result is a continuation of the muscular contraction.
How to stop your muscles from cramping:
While complex biochemical circumstances may cause muscle cramps, the process of stopping muscle cramping is quite easy. There are several methods that you can employ to stop your muscles from cramping.
Here are some of the most common:
- Gentle massaging
- Gentle stretching
- Deep breathing
- Application of a heat source to the cramped muscle
- Drinking plenty of cool, fresh water
- Increasing your intake of sodium, calcium and potassium
Foods that reduce muscle cramping:
If you experience muscle cramping regularly, it is most likely the result of an improper dietary regimen or mineral imbalance. Most people are already getting more than enough sodium in their diets. Muscle cramping is far more often related to lacking other minerals, especially potassium. When the body lacks sufficient potassium, the risk of cramping increases quite heavily.
Many fruits and vegetables are high in potassium:
- Brussels sprouts
Eating a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains, will provide you with all of the nutrients and complex carbohydrates that your body needs to function optimally. The human body is a well-designed machine and with the right fuel can run perfectly.
If you are battling with cramp and diet alone is not working, supplementing your diet with potassium and other minerals is a sure fire way to avoid the unbearable pain of muscle cramps.