How To Relieve Muscle CrampsEveryone has experienced a muscle cramp at one time, 95% of people to be exact. Whether it is caused by poor circulation, dietary imbalances, dehydration, or a side effect from medication, all muscle cramps have one thing in common: They are no fun! They are simply the sudden contraction of one or more muscles that begins involuntarily and does not consequently relax. They can last anywhere between a few seconds to half an hour! But what can we do to prevent, treat, and avoid these unpleasant, prolonged spasms? Good question!

1. Stretch It Out

Adapting to a regular stretching regime is key to avoiding muscle cramps, especially during exercise. It is recommended to stretch before and after physical activity, as well as scheduling in a warm up and cool down. The role of stretching is to increase your range of motion, lengthen your muscles, and prepare them for the voluntary contractions that are needed to move around. These tips are also relevant at rest. If you experience muscle cramps in bed, before settling in to sleep, take a few minutes to stretch the muscles that usually experience the cramps.

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is both a preventative measure, as well as a treatment for muscle cramps. Dehydration can cause abnormal muscle contractions, or twitches. These twitches can very easily develop into muscle cramps if adequate fluid is not provided to the cells. So fill up your water bottle before, during, and after your workout!

3. Replenish Electrolytes

Combating muscle cramps may not be as simple as drinking a little more water, it may also require you to pay attention to other nutrients that you may need. Electrolytes regulate the process of fluids moving in and out of our cells. Typically we are not at risk of disrupting this balance. However, in extreme heat, during vigorous exercise, or any time we are sweating, we are at risk of imbalance. Sodium and potassium in particular are predominating components of perspiration. To combat this, some sports drinks, in moderation, can be the answer. Please remember that many of these drinks may be loaded with sugars, so always take a look at the label beforehand.

4. Massage the Affected Area

Unfortunately, there are not too many ways to combat a muscle cramp after it has begun. However, lightly massaging the area that is in pain can help alleviate the issue by helping to relax the muscle. It is very important to remain calm, take a few deep breaths, and rub the cramping muscle gently in order to reverse the harsh contraction. You can massage the area with your fingers, fists, elbows, or even a tennis ball!

5. Rub On Relief

<span class='notranslate'>Real Time Pain Relief</span>While oral medications are an option to combat the pain associated with muscle cramps, they can produce unwanted side effects. That’s where topical pain relievers come in! They are a proven, well-controlled pain relief option. Topical pain relievers can be prescribed by a doctor or bought over-the-counter. If you are looking to buy something at your local drug store, it is recommended to look for something that contains menthol or methyl salicylate, since the FDA recognizes them as pain-relieving topical agents.

Although muscle cramps can be a great annoyance and cause us great discomfort, they are often not a harmful condition. Following the above recommendations can greatly decrease muscle cramps in most people. However, if you are experiencing severe muscle cramps or if they do not seem to go away, it is best to seek a medical professional.


Related: 10 Tips to Relieve Muscle Tension, 10 Tips to Relieve Chronic Pain

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