Muscle Cramps: Why?!


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Muscle cramps may be near the top of my list as far as my least favorite things my body does to me. They are awful, and pretty unavoidable as far as I'm concerned. I have some muscles that tend to cramp up on the regular. When I stretch my arms above my head, my neck usually cramps up for a few seconds, though sometimes longer. There's not really much for me to do about it except wait for the pain to work itself out. Not fun. So what causes these pains?

Muscle cramps are involuntary and forcibly contracted muscles that don't relax. Typically the muscle is fatigued, contracts and becomes hard and is unable to relax itself due to the fatigue. The neurons that send signals between the brain and the muscle continue to send a contraction message instead of a relaxation message The result is usually pretty bad pain, depending on what muscle is experiencing the cramp. Muscle cramps can be caused by a number of different things, including poor blood circulation, overexertion, muscle fatigue, and malfunctioning nerves just to name a few. Muscle cramps can also be brought on by a number of medications. Muscle cramps are most common after exercise, but can be experienced at any time. Once a muscle cramps, it is easy for it to cramp again, because the muscle is still fatigued.

The best method of working out cramps are to stretch out the muscle and try and force it to relax itself. This breaks the chain of neurons sending the contraction signal to the brain, and allows the muscle to relax. 

What's your best way of getting rid of painful muscle cramps?

5 Comments

Earlier this week, my roommate woke up around 4am screaming a certain four letter word in his sleep. I thought he was being held at gunpoint, but he was experiencing a calf cramp in the dead of night. According to the links you posted, cramps during sleep are not uncommon if the muscles are overworked during the day. To answer the posed question, I wish there was an easier way to rid of cramps. A ground breaking discovery could be found if someone found an instantaneous way to cure a cramp, as the pain is absolutely excruciating.

I hear that muscle cramps are also brought on by lack of potassium in a diet. I used to always get charlie-horses in my legs while I was sleeping, so I looked up how to avoid them and the answer is to just eat lots of bananas.

I hear that muscle cramps are also brought on by lack of potassium in a diet. I used to always get charlie-horses in my legs while I was sleeping, so I looked up how to avoid them and the answer is to just eat lots of bananas.

Muscle cramps happen often in athletes performing. It could be due to a lack of hydration or a lack of stretching. Always stay hydrated, and stretch daily to avoid this. Purchasing a foam roller will definitely help. It loosens up your muscle fibers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_tV1ulZmtE

watch this cool video of a football player cramping up during his touchdown run and playing through it

Muscle cramps are extremely painful and out of all of them I think Charlie Horses might be the worst. However, it's a toss up between Charlie Horses and shin splints. I used to get a lot of cramps in my legs during my sleep and like Jeffrey's roommate, I too used to yell out certain expletives in the middle of the night especially after long and difficult erg pieces or heavy lifting workouts for rowing. Fortunately, I seemed to grow out of the cramping (if that's even possible) and haven't cramped since and I'm even on the Rowing Team here. Even though the link I am going to post for you to check out is coming off of a weight lifting website and seems to be a bit extreme, it has a lot of good information and tips on it: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/topicoftheweek119.htm

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