By Ed Barillas- Staff Writer
A muscle cramp is an involuntary and quickly contracted muscle that will not relax. Generally, a muscle contracts when it is used, then stretches out when the motion is completed or another muscle moves it in a different direction. If a muscle contracts with great intensity without stretching out again you will feel the pain of a muscle cramp. Muscle cramping is usually caused by an imbalance in the body’s level of minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium or more commonly known as electrolytes. Other common causes of cramps can be set off by, lying for a long time in one position, Poor blood circulation, allergies, a deficiency of Vitamin E, arthritis, anemia, smoking, dehydration and heat stroke.
When you get a cramp:
- Massaging the muscle and use heat to relieve pain.
- Drink a large glass of water (to flush out the toxins that are stored in your muscles)
To avoid muscle cramps:
- Included plenty of alfalfa, seafood, dairy products, whole grain products and fresh fruit in your diet.
- Rub pure, unprocessed olive or canola oil into your muscles before and after strenuous exercise. You can also add around 25 drops of the oil to a hot bath and soak.
- Take a hot bath using mineral salts before bedtime to increase flow to the muscles.
- Hydrotherapy (the therapeutic use of water, ice or steam) or massage therapy may be useful in controlling muscle cramp.
Most importantly in my opinion drink plenty of fluids and eat plenty of foods that promote hydration such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Although peoples specific hydration needs varies from person to person, many health care professionals recommend drinking at least 64 oz. of fluids per day or an amount that can stimulate clear or pale-yellow urine. If you feel thirsty, you may have already some level of dehydration. Additional foods that can hydrate can include, popsicles, gelatin, broth based soups, smoothies and herbal tea.