Q: I usually suffer severe cramps all over my body muscles at night. I wake up, stand and stretch in vain. The pain is usually so intense that I feel like crying loudly like a baby. Doc, what is the cause of these cramps? Is there any type of food or drink to avoid? What medicine should I take to remedy them?
A: Cramps can be extremely painful…I know, I had quite a lot in my first pregnancy 😀 They are involuntary contractions of muscles which happen suddenly. Involuntary means that you can’t control them…you’re minding your business and then they just show up 😀
If you’re a sports enthusiast, you probably have experienced this after prolonged periods of exercise. You’ve also, probably, experienced this after sitting still for a long time or for women, during pregnancy. These cramps may generally be due to dehydration, deficiency of certain minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium, poor blood supply to the muscle, some drugs etc.
During the episodes of muscle cramps, try stretching and massaging the muscle, use a warm towel on the area and if that doesn’t help, try the opposite…an ice pack 😀 Be sure to put a towel between your skin and the ice pack. Then you could try taking some over the counter analgesics to help with that episode of pain. If these muscle cramps persist, in spite of these measures, you have to see your doctor.
To prevent muscle cramps, make sure you drink adequate amounts of fluid daily, be sure that you exercise in a safe manner and kindly add stretching to your exercise routine…before and after. If pregnancy is the issue, I won’t suggest not getting pregnant 😀 However, be sure to let your doctor know that you have these cramps, especially if they are not helped by applying a cold pack to it or stretching. For foods that cab help…well, since some mineral deficiency may be responsible for cramps, loading up on foods that are rich in these nutrients may be helpful eg Magnesium-rich foods like fruits and veggies, grains like local rice, legumes like beans and calcium rich foods like dairy etc Note that, this will not be useful if the cramps are due to other factors.
Have a good night, y’all 😀