Muscle cramps can be really painful and constantly occurred if we do not find alternatives to get rid of it. It can be happened not just towards a certain group of people yet to all category of age. Just the frequency of it can be quite a prevalence to people who always on an active lifestyle such as athletes or the elderly.
Theories suggested that some cramps such as heat cramps can be a result of the imbalance of both serum electrolyte and dehydration. Decreases of sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and/or calcium are causes of ‘Serum Electrolyte Theory’ while decreases of body mass, blood amount and plasma volume supported the ‘Dehydration Theory’. On the other hand, the exercise-associated muscle cramps or EAMC not really depending on these two factors as no high evidence shows the relation in between.
The five best preventions mentioned below nonetheless can be applied to get rid of muscle cramps.
EAMC usually take effect when an individual has a high period of training time before the event, faster running time for the first half and any other sudden increased effects towards muscle. It is suggested not to continue the exercise, stop the activities, take time to rest and monitor a rehabilitation time. The muscle-building process is accelerated during rest time along with new tissues regeneration5.
A research suggested that we should lengthen the stretching with the muscle group. Stretching may build up the physiological relationship of excitatory and inhibitory impulses. There are some researches supported the effectiveness of doing stretching to treat EAMC. Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle.
This is among the common way to treat heat cramps, either it is consumed or through injection. It is to prevent dehydration to the body and loss of serum electrolyte such as sodium which can cause muscle cramps. Sodium works together with potassium, magnesium, and chloride to balanced the level of electrolyte.
- Drink more water
This simple way prevents you from losing too much liquid required in your body as dehydration is among a cause of muscle cramps. A research shows that 19 respondents from 36 of them believed that drinking more water helps a little to prevent cramp. Drink more water especially during the hot day and stay hydrated.
- Stand or walk
Instead of doing stretching, the elderly may want a little accessible way to reduce muscle cramps as they may not be able to reach a certain point while doing stretching. Just by standing or walking helps them to reduce the cramps. 27 respondents in a survey stated that this way is very helpful, while 19 said it is quite helpful while 21 agreed it helps a little.
Consume food with high level of potassium also can help you to counter muscle cramps. Food such as bananas, broccoli and sweet potato has a high level of potassium. Other than that, a well-prepared effort can reduce the possibilities of getting muscle cramps and lessen the effects of it by doing a warm-up exercise before and get enough rest after all the activities.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment
Review Date: January 7, 2019 | Last Modified: January 7, 2019
- Edouard P. Exercise associated muscle cramps: Discussion on causes, prevention and treatment. Science and Sports. 2014.
Blyton F, Chuter V, Burns J. Unknotting night-time muscle cramp: A survey of patient experience, help-seeking behaviour and perceived treatment effectiveness. J Foot Ankle Res. 2012;
Garrison SR, Allan GM, Sekhon RK, Musini VM, Khan KM. Magnesium for skeletal muscle cramps. In: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012.