ABSCESS   
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WHOOPING COUGH   

MUSCLE CRAMPS

A muscle cramp is the term used to describe a sudden contraction of one or more of the muscles in the body. Muscle cramps can often result in intense pain and a lack of ability to move the affected muscles.

Muscle cramps can occur in any muscle on the body. Some of more common places affected by muscle cramps include.

Legs - Resulting from overuse, dehydration, muscle strain & lack of movement for long periods of time.

Fingers - Known as writer's cramp, results from using the same muscles for long periods.

Muscle cramps can also be caused by circulatory or nerve problems. In some cases, people experience muscle cramps while resting during rest.

Signs and symptoms of a muscle cramp include:

Sudden and sharp muscle pain (spasm, contraction), often in the legs

A hard lump of muscle tissue that you can feel or is visible beneath the skin

Muscle cramps can be caused by numerous factors including overuse of a muscle, dehydration, injury, muscle strain or simply holding a position for prolonged periods of time. Muscle cramps develop frequently in athletes who become fatigued and dehydrated while participating in sports during warm weather.

Muscle cramps in the legs also can result from:

Inadequate blood supply - Medically known as arteriosclerosis of the extremities, when the arteries that deliver blood to the legs become narrow the result can be cramp-like pain in the legs and feet while exercising. These pains typically subside within a few minutes.

Nerve compression - Known medically as lumbar stenosis, compression of nerves in the spine can also produce cramp-like pain in the legs. The pain usually becomes worse as a person walks more.

Mineral depletion - Lack of certain minerals including potassium, calcium or magnesium in the diet can also play a role in the development of leg cramps. Certain medications such as the one’s prescribed for high blood pressure cause loss of potassium.

Muscle cramps can also be symptoms of other conditions such as nerve, thyroid or hormone disorders, diabetes, hypoglycemia and anemia.

The regimen outlined below includes a safe, natural approach to treating & preventing muscle cramps:

Stretch the muscles thoroughly prior to exercising and after.

James Clay, a certified clinical massage therapist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina suggests the use of a tennis ball for back pain. Put a tennis ball on the floor and cover it with a towel. Lie on your back on top of the ball and move around until you can isolate it under the painful spot. Let the ball sink into the muscle, then lie there and wait for the cramp or spasm to ease - which it will. "You can give yourself a lot of relief this way," says Clay.

Drink plenty of water before and after exercising.

Avoid tight clothing and shoes, which may can constrict blood flow resulting in cramping.

When cramps occur in the calves, elevate the feet and massage the affected area.

Warm baths are very effective in treating sore muscles.

The following supplements may also be helpful:

Calcium (1,500 mg daily) and Magnesium Complex (750 mg & up) - Can help ward off cramps due to calcium and magnesium deficiency.

Vitamin E (begin with 400 IU daily and increase slowly to 1,000 IU daily) - Improves circulation.

Potassium (99 mg daily) - Needed for proper calcium and magnesium absorption and relieves muscle cramps.

Vitamin B Complex (50 mg of each major B vitamin 3 times daily w/ meals) - Improves circulation and cellular function.

Horsetail (take as directed on label) - Relieves muscle cramps and spasms.

Multivitamin Complex (take as directed on label) - Provides proper general nutrition.

Vitamin C with Bioflavinoids (3,000 - 6,000 mg daily) - Helps improve circulation.

Lobelia Extract (take as directed on label) - May be applied topically to affected muscle area to relieve muscle spasms.

Alfalfa, Bayberry and Blessed Thistle - Aid circulation

Valerian and Scullcap - Relieve muscle cramps.

 

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