What is a muscle cramp?
A sudden and involuntary contraction or spasm in one or more of your muscles making it temporarily impossible to use the affected muscle.
Muscle cramps are very common especially after exercise or heavy physical labor. Many people are also awakened in the night by leg cramps. Muscle cramps can last a few seconds to several minutes and can be very painful.
While children can experience muscle cramps, they are most common in adults and can become increasingly frequent with aging.
What does a muscle cramp feel like?
The intensity of pain can range from mild and uncomfortable twitches to intense and severe sharp pain. You may also see or feel a hard lump of muscle tissue under the skin. You may see the muscle twitching under the skin. The cramp may come and go multiple times before it resolves.
What part of the body can be affected?
Muscle cramps can develop in any muscle but are most common in the thighs, calves, feet, hands, arms and abdomen. Cramps most commonly develop in the leg muscles, particularly in the calf. These types of cramps are called “charley horses”.
What are the causes?
Long periods of exercise or physical labor that causes strain or overuse of a muscle or muscle group, particularly in hot weather is the most common cause.
Other causes include:
- Simply holding a position for a prolonged period of time
- Low levels of electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium or calcium
- Compression of your nerves from a spinal cord injury or pinched nerve
- Restriction of blood getting to your muscles
- Certain medications
- Medical conditions like kidney disease
While muscle cramps are generally harmless, if the cramping is frequent or severe it is advisable to contact your health care provider for an office visit.
Ways to prevent muscle cramps?
Steps that may be beneficial in helping prevent muscle cramps are:
- Stay hydrated. Choose water and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Fluids help your muscles contract and relax. During activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals, and continue drinking water or other fluids after you're finished.
- Eat foods rich in magnesium (especially leafy greens) and potassium (bananas and black beans)
- Stretch muscles before and after exercise or heavy physical work.
- If you tend to have leg cramps at night, stretch before you go to sleep. Also light exercise before bedtime, such as riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes, also may help prevent cramps while you're sleeping.
- Work to improve your overall fitness and maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid exercising in hot weather.
- Wear shoes that fit you properly.
- Be aware of what medications may cause muscle cramps as a side effect.
How to relieve muscle cramps?
You usually can treat muscle cramps at home with self-care measures.
- Stop the activity that caused the cramp.
- Gently massage the cramped muscle until the cramping stops.
- Apply heat
1. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles.
2. Taking a warm bath or directing the stream of a hot shower onto the cramped muscle can also help.
3. Add Epsom salts to a warm bath or dissolve and apply to the area using a wet cloth.
- Apply cold: Massaging the cramped muscle with ice may relieve pain.
- Apply Pain Relief Noni Lotions: IcyHeat or IcyHeat MAX
Have a painful cramp? Noni to the rescue!
Noni is a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Our Pain Relief Noni Lotions may be used as a preventative prior to workouts or heavy physical labor or for fast-acting relief when a cramp develops. Most report relief from cramping 30 to 60 seconds after applying.
We have many NCAA sports teams, high school teams and weekend athletics who apply our Noni Lotions to their calves and thighs (5 minutes before) sporting events to prevent cramps during their games.
Melody Toth, the head basketball trainer for 20 years at the University of Hawaii, conducted an experiment one year during preseason practices. She had 8 players apply the Noni Lotions to the calves and thighs and 8 players not apply the lotions before 2 hour practices for 4 weeks. The players that applied the Noni Lotions did not experience muscle fatigue, tiredness, or get cramps. The players who did not apply the lotions eventually cramped up, and experienced muscle fatigue.
How to apply Noni Lotion for cramp relief
As a preventative: Simply apply before strenuous physical labor, training or playing sports.
Here on the Farm, we apply the Noni Lotions to our bodies before we go out to work hard all day to prevent muscle fatigue and cramps.
When a cramp develops: Apply directly to the affected area, let air dry and prepare to feel quick relief.
Are you awakened at night with painful leg cramps? Keep a bottle on your nightstand for quick relief. For those that experience night time leg cramps, we also recommend applying before bed to the bottom of both feet as a cramp preventative.
Here's a little inside tip: Apply the Pain Relief Noni Lotion to the bottom of both feet and the localized cramp area for even faster relief as the 2000 nerve endings in the bottom of the feet send the Noni up the nerves for a faster response.
Have you used our lotions for cramps? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.