Muscle cramps occur when a skeletal muscle contracts. The muscle cramps might be uncomfortable, and some might be painful.
The cramps usually occur in the thighs, feet, calf, and sometimes the arms. Not only that they can be problematic during the day, but also might wake you up in the middle of the night.
Moreover, this muscle cramping is common in people who have diabetes.
What Causes Muscle Cramps?
Substances and drugs which contribute to the development of muscle cramps are alcohol, insulin, cholesterol-lowering drugs, oral contraceptives, beta-agonists, and antihypertensives.
Circulation and Nerves
Complications related to diabetes might activate muscle cramps. Nerve damage and poor circulation might trigger spasms, people with peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease might be prone to experiencing cramps.
Electrolytes and Glucose
The proper relaxation and contraction of the muscles need a fuel source like glucose, and also balanced electrolytes exchange through the cell membranes such as magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium.
When blood glucose is low, the muscles might starve for fuel. And on the other hand, when the blood glucose is high the body excretes additional glucose through the urine which leads to electrolytes depletion and dehydration.
These kinds of imbalances lead to cramping, active people without proper hydration and conditioning, in athletes who have extended strenuous exercise, in sedentary or active people with fluctuating blood sugar.
The muscle cramps are also linked to pregnancy, thyroid disease, fatigue, poor flexibility, hemodialysis, spinal nerve compression, and lying, sitting, and standing in one position for long periods of time.
How to Prevent Cramps
- Practice yoga to maintain your joints and muscles flexible
- Have a hot bath or a shower before your bedtime in order to loosen the muscles
- Also, you can do some stretching exercises
- Consider wearing supportive shoes, and in case you stand, make sure to stand on a rubber mat
- Avoid sitting or stand for a long time
- Always warm-up before exercising
- Drink plenty of water
- Consume foods abundant in magnesium, calcium, and potassium such as bananas, milk, salmon, broccoli, and sardines.
Also, you can stretch and massage your affected muscle at the moment when you are experiencing muscle cramps.
For instance, if you have cramping in the calf muscle you can stretch the leg and put the toes in the direction of the top of your foot, or you can simply massage that muscle.
Consult your doctor in case you have muscle cramps. He or she will do simple tests in order to determine the exact cause and based on that tell you how to deal with it.
Do you have muscle cramps often?