We have all had them.
Muscle spasms suck.
When your muscle contracts and doesn’t release. Muscle spasms can range from a mild twitching to an excruciating locking. It can occur in any muscle in the body, including your smooth muscles. (If you have ever had food poisoning, this is a perfect example of your whole gastrointestinal tract continuing to spasm until all the “poison” is out) Normally the only way to get immediate relief is to stretch the muscle that is screaming at you. (Calf, hamstring stretch etc.) Many people stretch the muscle, cramping goes away, then they think nothing of it.
However we should look into why your muscles are cramping, and what is happening to cause this.
Muscle cramping is more oftentimes caused by dehydration.
Some early signs of dehydration are: thirst, dark yellow coloured pee, fatigue, headache, dry mouth, lips, eyes and skin, dizziness, low energy, moodyness, false sence of hunger (normaly for crap food) loss of stamina and strength. -So if you are having a crappy workout, perhaps reconsider hydration before feeling frustrated with your lack of progress.
It is estimated that 2/3rd’s of us are chronically dehydrated and I completely believe this especially when it comes to the hot hot summer months. Here is a wonderfully colourful chart to view.
Hydration is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy, and I’m talking WATER. Not tea, coffee, pop, vodka, beer, juice, milk. Water prevents not only hardcore pasties, but also the onset of several illnesses & diseases. Since the average human body is 75% water, with blood 92% water, brains 85% water, bones 22% water, and muscles 75% water; it’s no surprise our whole body depends on our water intake. Lets take our circulatory system for instance… that one has a fairly important job.
When the body is dehydrated, the blood becomes thicker causing resistance to blood flow, resulting in elevated blood pressure. Dehydration can also lead to a rise in blood cholesterol. This is the body’s response to prevent water loss from the cells. High cholesterol and high blood pressure can further increase the risk of coronary heart disease, this is just one example of how the shit starts hitting the fan when we are dehydrated.
Seriously people Google this crap, there are hundreds if not thousands of ailments that we are experiencing possibly due to dehydration.
Sipping water throughout the day is the best way to combat your risk of dehydration. Drinking a nice cool glass of water as soon as we awaken will help boost up blood pressure to normal levels, and wake up your gastrointestinal tract gently before gobbling food. Just try to keep an eye on your H2O intake for a week, look at your pee and keep on top of it.
Muscle spasms… Along with dehydration they could be a symptom of
- Poor blood circulation in the legs
- Overexertion of the muscles while exercising
- Insufficient warming up before exercise
- Exercising in the heat
- Muscle fatigue
- Magnesium and/or potassium deficiency
- Calcium deficiency in pregnant women
There are also a number of medications that can cause muscle spasms.
Here are a few solutions on how to prevent them!
Try to drink more fucking water! Even if you aren’t exercising in the heat; when it’s this hot out, you ARE becoming dehydrated. What harm is it going to do? We live privileged lives in a first world country where we have no excuse. Saying ‘the tap water tastes funny’ and ‘I hate having to pee so often’ doesn’t count either. Eat more foods high in vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. If you need to, grab some Gatorade or Powerade. This stuff is full of unnecessary sugars and artificial sweeteners so I try not to recommend it. But if it makes you feel better and gets you drinking fluids then have at ‘er on a hot day. Foods that are high in vitamins and minerals are normally very colourful. hint hint…
Keeping on top of a colourful diet will help a great deal in the future. However I have a great little cheat to fill you in on. Magnesium and calcium are wonders that will go a long way. Ok lets be realistic. its 1am you just woke up screaming in bed, got the charlie horse out of your calf. Are you really going to eat some fruits and veggies? or drink two litres of water? Even if you do, they wont have the any affect on your poor body for at least 8 hours, and now you’re panicked because what if another one happens between now and when you wake up? That last one was so painful! shit!
So have a little cheat and pop a magnesium supplement. Take it with some water and go back to bed. It works fast and will help greatly. They normally come in 100mg, 250mg & 400mg doses. I normally take 1x 250mg with water and go back to bed, and I give the same dose to my hubby when hes doing renos all day in the sun, or when my sister is playing soccer in the heat, or when Im just pregnant and having effing muscle spasms all the fricken day. Things to remember try to take the supplement on an empty stomach, (with water but no food.) as it will result in a more intense rush of magnesium into the blood stream. Calcium and magnesium compete for absorption, so at the very least DO NOT take it with calcium. That being said, if you are on other medications, supplements or have other health issues please contact your doctor before taking my advise blindly.
In most cases, self-care measures are sufficient for dealing with these painful little buggers, that typically go away within minutes. But if you experience them frequently or for no apparent reason, you should speak to your doctor.