Treating muscle cramps requires a multi-tiered approach that includes lifestyle changes, dietary changes and nutritional supplements. Regulating the activity level and eating a balanced diet with plenty of water supports effective functioning and eliminates many symptoms of muscle cramping. Additionally, specific supplements deliver important nutrients to the body and prevent cramps.
What is a Muscle Cramp?
A muscle cramp is defined as the sudden, involuntary contraction of one or more of the muscles. This contraction typically renders the muscle useless and can be quite painful. A hard lump of muscle tissue may also develop beneath the skin following a muscle cramp.
Several factors contribute to muscle cramps. Overuse, dehydration, muscle strain and inactivity are several of the primary causes of cramps. Inadequate blood supply, mineral depletion and nerve compression may also contribute to the condition.
Natural Remedies for Muscle Spasms and Cramping
With a variety of causes, muscle cramps also have a variety of treatments. Effective treatment regimens often incorporate increasing or possibly even decreasing exercise, increasing daily water intake and balancing the diet. Additionally, supplements including potassium, magnesium and sodium are also important for regulating cramps.
Critical Electrolytes for Muscle Spasms
Potassium is an important factor in the function of the muscles and nerves. Potassium is an electrolyte that aids in the electrical exchanges in the body. Adding additional potassium to the diet reduces the risk of cramping by facilitating the effective functioning of the muscles.
Magnesium functions in much the same way as potassium. Magnesium is an important electrolyte that helps regulate nerve signals in the body. When taken in the appropriate proportion, magnesium helps prevent and even reduce the risk of cramps.
Sodium is actually the electrolyte of most concern when it comes to muscle cramps. Sodium helps regulate and promote the balance of the body’s natural fluid levels. Taking sodium or adding sodium to the diet helps maintain an appropriate level of fluids in the body and, in turn, prevents cramping.
Muscle cramps range in intensity and can elevate to a medical emergency fairly quickly. As such, maintaining an effective balance that prevents cramping is important. Natural treatments can help establish and preserve this balance.
A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses is full of important nutrients and a great natural treatment for muscles cramps. If you experience a muscle cramp and take a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses, you will often experience relief in a short while. If you are prone to waking up at night with a muscle cramp, taking a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses before bed will help to prevent those cramps.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be taken in a glass of water (1 tablespoon per glass of water) for muscle cramps. It can also be massaged into a muscle cramp for fast relief.
Magnesium oil, found in a spray, can be applied topically to a muscle cramp. The magnesium quickly absorbs into the skin and then muscle. If the oil stings, rinse it off after 20 minutes. Magnesium oil is not actually an oil. It is magnesium chloride and water, but it feels somewhat oily.
Muscle cramps can come upon you quickly when you are dehydrated. You can get stomach cramps when you have a stomach virus or diarrhea because your body loses so much water and electrolytes during purging. If you are outside in the heat you can also get dehydrated due to excessive sweating. Even if you drink a lot of water, the electrolytes lost in sweating are not replaced with the water you drink. This is why football teams have coolers full of Gatorade to drink. Gatorade is replacing electrolytes and fluids. Oral rehydration solutions, also are better than plain water for severe dehydration. Coconut water is an excellent natural rehydration drink.
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