Muscle spasms in the legs or leg cramps are usually affect calves and hamstrings. It is an involuntary contraction of muscles on its own. You will feel a hard painful lump.
A fatigued or overused muscle may give you cramps. If your body dehydrates it will lose electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium. If a supply of these electrolytes is not made available then the muscle will spasm giving you cramps.
Cramps also can be caused by alcoholism, diabetes and hypothyroidism. If you are above 65 of age then you are more prone to get cramps due to aging muscles. Muscle cramps usually bothers you more during the night, although they are not a worrisome condition.
1. Nuts as Seeds
If you are getting frequent leg cramps and do not have any underlying conditions such as diabetes or hypothyroidism then it is the magnesium deficiency that is responsible for you muscle spasm and cramps.
Other rich sources of magnesium are dark leafy greens, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, dark chocolate, and many more food items.
Add nuts and seeds to your daily diet. Eat dark leafy vegetables. Avocado and banana are also rich sources of potassium which also help stopping muscle cramps. You have a large choice of food items rich in magnesium. Consume what you love. You can take magnesium supplements if required. Check with your doctor.
2. Stretching and Massaging
First of all immediately stop all the physical activity and in particular that activity which has caused muscle spasm.
Drink water with electrolyte or a sport drink to replenish lost minerals and remain hydrated.
Now hold the affected muscle and slowly stretch. It may pain initially but the knots caused by spasm must be released to get pain relief. Gently massage the affected area with coconut oil.
3. Hot Compression
Epsom salt contains magnesium. Add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to a glass of hot water to make it saline. Soak a cotton cloth in the saline water and wrap it on the affected area. Even if you have no access to Epsom salt this hot soak will work well.
Other methods of heating your muscle is use of any heating pad or a hot water bottle compress. Even dry heat will do the job.
Heat relaxes the muscle. A wet hot soak let the heat penetrate deeper, that is why heat soak is more preferable to other methods of heating the cramped muscles. In addition to the above remedies, keep yourself fully hydrated. Dehydration affects the functioning of muscles. Drink more water than usual.
You must keep using the muscle in less strained way. A slow walk is the best way to keep the muscles functioning well. It may appear counterintuitive to use the muscle which is paining, but you must not take complete rest. Muscles must move to heal fast.
If you have hydrated yourself, done host soak and stretched you muscle then walking will not be difficult.
If this is your first muscle cramp then make sure that you develop a habit of eating magnesium rich foods and remain hydrated. You may not get another cramp.