It really hurts… for now.
If you’ve ever had a cramp or Charlie horse, you know that it can really hurt at all the wrong times. You might get a cramp when you’re trying to sleep or during some point of high activity, and it suddenly hits you, limiting your mobility due to the pain. Cramps can happen anywhere in the body. They can occur in the legs, as well as the side of the torso. They can even occur in the upper neck just below the jaw. Cramps come in all shapes and sizes and can last as long until the muscles and tendons causing the cramp work themselves out. It can take anywhere from 10 seconds to alleviate the pain and it can take a few days in extreme cases. Cramps are quite painful, but it has to do with some very specific deficiencies in diet, hydration, and inactivity that cause the problem.
Cramps tend to be caused when a muscle gets “tied” or “tangled” into a knot. These knots sometimes naturally work themselves out, but sometimes, massaging is necessary. Cramps mostly occur when there is a potassium deficiency in the body, as well as a problem with electrolytes. When these two substances are abundant in the body, cramps do not occur as often. Dehydration can also cause cramping because of not enough lubrication for the muscles.
Last, muscles that are tight and not stretched before a strenuous activity will cause cramping. When the muscle remains rigid, it doesn’t take long to pull a muscle and in turn a cramp will occur.
Naturally Dealing with Cramps (without Ibuprofen)
Cramps can be dealt with by understanding a few very important principles. They are caused by three major factors and deficiencies in the body’s system.
The first cause, was being deficient in potassium and electrolytes. Be sure to get as much potassium as possible. Bananas are a great source of potassium. Potassium is a substance that allows for the activity of muscles, when the body is potassium and electrolyte deficient, muscles don’t work properly, and problems occur. Drinking an electrolyte fortified sports drink and eating a banana will help you avoid cramping during the big game.
Also, be sure to drink plenty of water. Water provides lubrication for the muscles, as well as helps keep up blood flow. When the blood flows freely and properly, the body can deliver essential nutrients where it needs. So, you will not only keep from being winded on a sprint, you can prevent cramps after the downfield dash.
Next, it is important to stretch. Stretching before the game will keep your muscles loose and keep your muscles from being rigid. When muscles grow rigid from a lack of stretching, it is possible to pull a muscle or even tear a tendon. This can cause serious health issues, often requiring surgical procedures to fix, and much pain will follow. Staying stretched out will keep your muscles from cramping, allow for good circulation, and keep them from tearing. Now, get out there and play like a champ!