Whether you’re in the middle of a workout or the middle of a night’s sleep, no one is immune to muscle cramps and spasms. Whether it’s a stomach or quad cramping up during a long run or the dreaded Charlie Horse in the night, cramps can catch you off guard and derail whatever you’re doing at the time. Luckily, there are some quick and effective things you can do to treat a cramp as soon as it hits. The more you know, the better off you are with cramps and spasms. They are usually caused by the overuse of a muscle, dehydration, a muscle strain or just holding the same position for too long. Here are the best ways to stop a muscle cramp after it starts:
1. Stop what you’re doing and stretch. Even if you have to sit down, take some weight off of the affected muscle and do some easy stretching. In addition to stretching you can gently rub out the muscle to stop it from tightening even more and making the cramp worse. You can find the knot in your bigger muscles where the contracting is happening and gently try and loosen it.
If you’re someone who is constantly facing muscle cramping and spasms it might be a sign you need to ramp up your intake of magnesium, calcium and sodium on a regular basis and drink more water. Sports drinks packed with sodium and electrolytes are great to quickly kick a cramp to the curb but drinking enough water throughout the day (and before a workout or competition) is even more important. Staying hydrated can help prevent cramps before they start. It also helps to increase your regular intake of magnesium and calcium-rich foods to prevent cramps before they start and ruin a race or workout. If you need to, you can also find a variety of vitamins to help up your regular intake without changing your diet. Try a magnesium, zinc or vitamin B, D and E supplement!