Yoga for Muscle Cramps

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on December 27, 2012

A muscle cramp or spasm can be described as an unexpected and uncontrolled contraction in one or more muscles. Though most cramps are quite harmless, they can be very painful. At times, a muscle spasm could be severe enough to wake you up from deep sleep, in the middle of the night. These sudden contractions could also make it impossible for you to use the affected muscle for a while.

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Some of the factors that cause muscle cramps include sore muscles, dehydration, excessive exercise or physical labor, hot climates, electrolyte imbalance and the use of certain medication. There is no specific cure for muscle cramps, as most of them are short-lived, or can be treated using simple home remedies. Fortunately, it is also possible to prevent muscle cramps by -

  • Drinking an adequate amount of water each day
  • Following a diet that is nutritious and well-balanced
  • Exercising for at least half an hour each day
  • Performing stretching, warm up exercises before a workout routine
  • Applying moist heat to the area that is generally affected
  • Trying massage therapy to relieve stress and cure sore muscles

Several individuals also use yoga to prevent and treat muscle cramps.


Doctors at Highlands Orthopedics & Sports Medicine report that the stretches, exercises and techniques in Yoga relieve back spasms to a great extent.

Tips

Almost all of us have experienced muscle cramps at some time or the other. Most cramps last for a few minutes, but in some cases, they could become a long-lasting, recurring problem. In such instances, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Some of the self-care tips you can follow at home to relieve cramps immediately include -

  • Stop your current activity and stretch the muscle that is affected. Do not resume that activity until the spasm passes.
  • As soon as you feel the spasm come on, apply some heat to the area, in the form of a hot water bag or a heating pad. Make sure that the temperature is not too high.
  • Ice is also quite effective in relieving muscle cramps quickly. Apply an ice pack to the affected muscle when you first feel the pain. Repeat this exercise when the pain subsides

There are a few ways in which you can reduce the frequency and intensity of the muscle cramps. Given below are a few tips to follow –

Assess your activity and workout routine, to make sure that you are exercising within your physical ability, without pushing yourself excessively

  • Drink plenty of fluids, at regular intervals during the day, especially, when you are exercising. Sport drinks are a great way of replenishing lost minerals in the body
  • Increase your intake of potassium, by adding bananas to your diet. Orange juice is also a good source of the mineral
  • Stretch your muscles and warm them up effectively before engaging in any strenuous physical activity
  • Reduce your intake of caffeinated foods and beverages, as well as alcohol.

In case you are taking any medication on a regular basis, speak to your doctor to find out if they could be the cause of your muscle cramps. Never change your medication, without consulting your doctor.

Poses

There are various factors that could cause you to experience muscle cramps in your hands, legs and back. Given below are some of the yoga poses that heal muscle cramps faster –

  • Adho Mukha Svasana (The Downward Facing Dog Pose)
  • Ardha Chandrasana (The Half Moon Pose)
  • Baddha Konasana (The Cobbler Pose)
  • Prasarita Padottanasana (The Intense Leg Stretch)
  • Savasana (The Corpse Pose)
  • Setubandha Sarvangasana (The Supported Bridge Pose)
  • Tadasana Gomukhasana (The Mountain Pose With Hands In Cow Face Shape)
  • Tadasana Paschima Baddha Namaskar (The Mountain Pose With Arms Folded Behind The Back)
  • Tadasana Paschima Namaskar (The Mountain Pose With Hands Folded Behind The Back)
  • Tadasana Samasthith (The Steady / Firm Mountain Pose)
  • Tadasana Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (The Mountain Pose With Interlocked Fingers)
  • Tadasana Urdhva Hastasana (The Mountain Pose With Hands Stretched Up)
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana (The Intense Side Stretch)
  • Uttitha Trikonasana (The Extended Triangle Pose)
  • Vipartita Karani (The Legs Up-The-Wall Pose)

To reduce the risks of injuries, always practice yoga poses under the supervision of a Yoga expert, at least until you attain some level of mastery. It is important to get an approval from a physician, before practicing any Yoga Pose.

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