A Natural Approach to Health
Living With Muscle Cramps
I had a question the other day about muscle cramps.
A muscle cramp is a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles.
If you’ve ever woken up in the night or stopped in your tracks by a sudden Charley horse in your calf, you know muscle cramps can cause excruciating pain.
In addition to your foot and calf muscles, other muscles prone to spasms include the front and back of your thigh, your hands, arms, abdomen, and muscles along your rib cage.
Even though they’re usually harmless, muscle cramps can make it temporarily impossible to use the affected muscle.
Almost everyone experiences muscle cramps from time to time and they come without warning.
Muscle cramps have many possible causes, including:
>Poor blood circulation in your legs
>Overexertion of muscles while exercising
>Inadequate stretching before exercise
>Exercising in the heat
>Magnesium and/or potassium deficiency
>Calcium deficiency in pregnant women
>Malfunctioning nerves, which could be caused by a problem like a spinal cord injury or pinched nerve
Muscle cramps can also occur as a side effect a drug.
Some medications causing muscle cramps are:
>Lasix, Microzide, and other diuretics (“water pills”) used to remove fluid from your body
>Aricept, used to treat Alzheimer’s disease
>Prostigmine, used to treat myasthenia gravis
>Procardia, used to treat angina and high blood pressure
>Evista, used to treat osteoporosis
>Brethine, Proventil, and Ventolin, used to treat asthma
>Tasmar, used to treat Parkinson’s disease
>Crestor, Lescol, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol, Zocor, and other statin medications used to treat high cholesterol
When muscle cramps happen, there are several things you can do to help ease them.
For immediate relief of a Charley horse or a cramp in the back of your thigh (hamstring), try putting your weight on the affected leg and bending your knee slightly.
Or, sit or lie down with your leg out straight and pull the top of your foot toward your head.
For a cramp in the front of your thigh (quadriceps), hold onto a chair to steady yourself and pull your foot back toward your buttock.
In most cases, self-care measures are enough for dealing with muscle cramps, which typically go away within minutes.
To prevent muscle cramps, it’s beneficial to:
*Eat more foods high in vitamins, magnesium, and calcium
*Stay well hydrated, drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily
*Discover and avoid triggers
*Stretch and exercise regularly
*Breathe deeply to oxygenate your cells.
*Increase EFAs (essential fatty acids) with Omega 3, flaxseed oil, olive oil, etc., because these help lubricate your joints and decrease inflammation
*Increase B-complex, Lecithin, Cal/Mag, and VitalMag because these support nerve function.
*Ensure proper footwear.
*Maintain a healthy weight.
*Take Cal Mag as soon as you feel a cramp coming on and/or as soon as possible after an injury, like a pulled muscle, to feed and relax your muscles.
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