Why Do Cramps Happen?
After a vigorous run or lifting of weights and during a woman’s menstrual period, any person involved in these activities would feel unpleasant, a painful sensation or muscle spasms. We call this occurrence as cramps. Cramps are simply defined as shortening of the muscles resulting from activities engaged by a person related to work or exercise and may be because of natural occurrence as that of some women.
Cramps have been classified into two types. These are smooth muscle cramps and skeletal muscle cramps. Both types have somehow similar manifestations of an unpleasant feeling and of pain but it happen for different causes. So, why do these cramps happen according to their classification?
Smooth muscle cramps happen because muscles in the internal area, like the uterus, kidneys and intestines experience contraction wherein the smooth muscle contracts in the heart of the internal organ which will result to a colicky pain. The most common example of this type of cramps is the menstrual cramps that most women experience usually felt in the abdominal area that radiates through the thighs and to the back. It is relieved through warm compress or prior to the woman’s period, she’ll do some stretching or exercise or if she is subjected too much pain, she can safely take an ibuprofen.
For skeletal muscle cramps, it happens because of hyperflexion or overshortening. Hyperflexion happens when a muscle is flexed beyond its normal limit. If a person engages himself in excessive exercise or just started to exercise, since the muscles maybe used beyond its limit, it will cause involuntary muscle contractions or spasms resulting to pain.
In addition to these two types, an imbalance of electrolytes caused by dehydration can lead to cramps. If levels of these minerals- magnesium, calcium, potassium would be either too high or low, cramping will occur as these are important minerals that help the body cells function normally.