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Prevent Muscle Cramps by Drinking Water

Most of us have experienced muscle cramps at one time or another. Cramps can affect anyone, whether you are a regular exerciser or a regular couch potato. They strike many of us when we are sound asleep - waking us up in the middle of the night with a sharp, piercing pain. but cramps may affect some of us during a baseball game or in the middle of a volleyball match.

Resulting from an abnormal muscle contraction, a cramp occurs as the muscle locks into an awkward and sustained spasm because of that contraction. Although the calves are the most likely site for a cramp, any muscle in the body is vulnerable. Medical specialists are not exactly sure what causes cramps, but they do recognize several factors that are associated with them. Muscles that are overworked, injured or exposed to extreme temperatures may be more likely to succumb to a cramp.

Other factors include:
  • Dehydration - A body that is dehydrated can make muscles more vulnerable to cramps. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids during the day, especially if you exercise.
  • Electrolyte imbalance - Electrolytes can be found in the minerals potassium and sodium, and they carry an electric charge that helps trigger your muscles to contract and relax. Dehydration can disrupt the balance between potassium and sodium which may cause muscle cramps. You need to constantly refurbish your body's fluids in order to keep electrolyte balance and reduce your chances of suffering muscle cramps.
  • Mineral Deficiency - Sometime, too much or too little of certain minerals other than potassium and sodium in your diet can onset a muscle cramp. Two important minerals for your body are calcium and magnesium. Sufficient amounts of these and other minerals in your diet can help you avoid muscle cramps.
For immediate relief of a cramp, gently stretch the muscle. Although this can be quite painful, it will help the muscle to relax. Stretching a contracted muscle increases the tension on the tendons and causes the muscle to relax. Pressing on the muscle, massaging it and applying ice while stretching can also help to relieve the cramp.

Stretching and massaging are only temporary treatments for a continuing problem. In order to avoid muscle cramps in the future, you must change some of your dietary and lifestyle habits. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, get enough potassium and sodium by eating foods such as bananas and oranges, build up your body's levels of other important minerals, keep your muscles in shape and conditioned with regular exercise, stretch your muscles throughout the day, and wear appropriate clothing - tight clothing that interferes with blood flow can lead to cramps.

Muscle cramps are a common problem, but by following a few simple guidelines to make sure your body is well-nourished and properly hydrated, you can eliminate your risk for muscle cramps. Don't let cramps slow you down - eat mineral -rich foods, drink lots of water and take good care of your muscles.

Therapy Services Associates
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2700 N Grimes
Hobbs, NM 88240
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Lovington, NM 88260
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We serve Lea and Eddy Counties in New Mexico, as well as Yoakum and Gaines Counties in West Texas.