What You Don’t Know Actually Does Hurt You
OK, so there we were…match point in our ever important Sunday afternoon round robin tennis match. Just one more point and we win…free drinks at the Dave & Busters. Victory would be sweet while sipping my adult beverage and playing Skeeball with my wife.
And then it happened…
Diana my wife’s normal playing partner leaves a ball short, I come charging in to get it and plant my right foot like I’m Rafael Nadal at the French Open. As I’m about to pop the ball back over I fell on the ground in the fetal position writhing in pain. My entire lower part of my leg was twisting itself in knots. Immediately two things came rushing into my head in this exact order:
- Wait…no Dave & Busters?
- How do I make this pain stop?
Unfortunately the agony of defeat required more attention than sharpening my game playing skills. So I propped myself up and began limping towards the bench and began wondering what happened. One of the members of the round robin is a doctor and tells me: “Sean, you have serious muscle cramps of the five star caliber…”
Now if you’re like me, muscle cramps are the worst thing ever. You may be in the middle of the night having the greatest night of sleep ever and BOOM! You feel like someone just threw your legs in a blender. First the jumping out of bed, then the hobbling around and once it goes away. The nightmare isn’t over because now you’re waiting for it to come back again.
Avoiding The Worst Way To Deal With Muscle Cramps
First thing the doc asked me about while I was on the bench was if I got muscle cramps quite often. Which I do. Here’s what he said:
“The worst way to deal with muscle cramps or pain is not using any preventative measures. You need to get plenty of fluids, avoid over exertion and get more potassium in your system.”
And it’s true. Most of the injuries we incur actually are preventable. But I pressed on and asked him, OK so how do I deal with them now. Amazingly enough there’s one other cause of muscle cramping which is poor circulation according WebMD’s Pain and Management Center (link attached). Now there’s two questions we have to answer: a) how do we try to prevent muscle cramps? and b) how do we deal with them once they happen?
To answer A, what you need to focus on is this:
- Get plenty of hydration…period. Especially when it’s hot since you’re more prone to losing fluids. (Courtesy of bodybuilding.com)
- Keep stretching your muscles (mayoclinic.com)
Now for B, you still need to replace lost fluids, sodium and potassium but there’s also another interesting thing you need to keep an eye on. After reading 11 articles about muscle cramps (yes I’m a nerd) you also need to watch out for poor blood circulation to your legs. One of the easiest ways to get the blood flowing again in your muscles is by providing them with heat. Heat will stimulate the flow of blood and provides the benefit of speeding up the time it takes you to heal.
One suggestion we can make to help your muscles heal if they’re cramping is the At-Home Heat Therapy Wrap. Take a look by clicking here.