Regular exercise and an active lifestyle are both very important for overall health, but if you don’t quite know your limits, or if you aren’t in the proper condition to take on that sort of physical exertion, then your body protests with muscle cramps.
What are Muscle Cramps?
Muscle cramps are the sudden and involuntary contraction of the muscles, particularly the leg muscles like the calves. Muscle cramps are often the first sign that your body isn’t quite ready to tackle the physical demands you’ve placed on it. You will feel a piercing pain, or see a hard knot of muscle tissue beneath the surface of the skin.
These cramps can happen in any muscle group, not just the arms or legs, and is largely caused by the same basic things. When you get a cramp, it is your muscle involuntarily contracting, and while it is usually temporary, it may prevent your use of the muscle for a period of time. This can be caused by using the muscle too much, straining the muscle, or dehydration, in most cases.
Some muscle cramps can be caused by nerve compression, inadequate or blocked blood supply, or mineral deficiencies. If not addressed, these issues will continue, along with the painful cramps.
The primary symptom of a muscle cramp is rather self-explanatory – your muscle cramps up and tightens painfully, usually beyond the comfortable level of “flexed” that you are used to. You will feel a sharp pain and a knot of hard, flexed tissue beneath the skin. The area can be tender when touched or pressed on.