Whilst you enjoy your nice cozy sleep and a beautiful dream, suddenly you are woken up by a sharp sudden cramp! It is very painful and often you are unable to go back to bed. This condition is known as a Cramp.
What is a Cramp?
A Cramp (commonly known as “Charley horses”) is a sudden involuntary contraction of the muscle (usually the calf muscle) or over-shortening. They are brief and do not cause any harm but are very painful when they occur. Cramps resolve without any treatment over a short period of time. They occur due to hyperflexion, low amounts of Oxygen to the tissue (hypoxia due to lack of proper blood supply), changes in temperature, dehydration. A Cramp by itself is not a serious medical condition but its frequent appearance may signify an underlying medical condition which may require medical attention.
Causes of a cramp are:
- Muscle Fatigue caused due to excessive physical activity.
- Lack of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium or magnesium.
- Smooth muscle cramps may occur in menstruation and gastroenteritis.
- They occur as a result of pregnancy and other medical conditions such as kidney or thyroid disease, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, hypocalcaemia, restless leg syndrome, Addison’s disease, Cirrhosis, varicose veins, peripheral artery disease and multiple sclerosis. Also, surgical causes such as Gastric bypass surgery might be responsible for cramping.
- Standing on hard surfaces as concrete, sitting for a long time, or sleeping in uncomfortable postures.
- Certain medications may cause a cramp such as diuretics, statins and so on.
What can be done to avoid cramps?
- Having foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium and magnesium curtails the occurrence of cramps.
- Drink plenty of water as dehydration is also a cause of cramping. Replenish essential minerals
- Before starting exercise one must stretch well enough so that cramping is avoided.
- For people with flat feet who are more prone to cramps, wearing appropriate footwear will help reduce the number of times cramps occur.
Relieving a Muscle Cramp
- Firstly, try to remain as calm as possible because fear may cause further tightening of muscles.
- Stretch the muscle and massage it. If it doesn’t work, place a heating pad or a hot pack on the affected area to provide relief.
- Drink plenty of fluids to get relief from the pain.
- Try to walk or move your leg to reduce it. Try to walk on tiptoes.
- An ice pack or a hot pack may help relieve pains
- Bathing with Epsom salt or a plain warm shower eases this kind of pain.
- If there are recurrent muscle cramps that occur, then one must find out the exact cause of the cramp. Persistent cramps may be troublesome and hence seeking a medical advice would be beneficial to rule out any medical condition or cramping due to medication and so on.
- If a Smooth muscle cramp due to Menstruation or Gastroenteritis occurs, apply a hot pack locally, and drink plenty of fluids (In Gastroenteritis essential salts might be lost in diarrhea hence drinking fluids with ORS will help in recovery)
Treatment in Homoeopathy
Doliosis D78 Crampaid a Homoeopathic remedy is useful for relieving cramps in various parts of the body. The deficiencies causing cramps are corrected by this formulation resulting in respite of the painful symptoms of cramps. There are no known side effects of this product and it can be easily taken even with other medication, for all the age groups.