Muscle cramps appear involuntarily in the muscle fibers or muscle groups. It can affect any muscle of the body. The common muscle affected by muscle cramps is the skeletal muscle. It involves arms, hands, thigh, neck and legs. Its symptoms include hardening of skin and crampy pain in the involved muscles. It is short durational and go on its own. It is caused by poor circulation of blood to the affected muscles. It usually appears at night. Its symptoms can be easily managed with medicines.
Is Hot Water Good For Muscle Cramps?
Hot water can relieve muscle cramps. It relieves the hardening of the muscles by relaxing the stretched muscle fibers. It leads to the improvement of the blood circulation to the muscles. It can be done with a warm towel, electric bag, hot water bag or bottle or by a hot water bath.(1)
When the affected muscle is treated with hot water, the hardened muscle gets soothed and pain is relieved. The massaging the affected muscle can give quick relief.
Thus, hot water application is considered good to reduce the symptoms of muscle cramps.
Muscle cramps are sudden involuntary spasms of the muscle fibers or group of muscles. It can involve any muscle of the body but it develops more commonly in the voluntary muscles like skeletal muscles of the body. Its locations can be hands, abdomen, thighs or legs. It appears suddenly and may extend to a few seconds to few minutes. In this period, the pain in the affected muscles is often intolerable that may interrupt the normal movement of the involved part.(2)
Muscle cramps are not harmful. It may range between mild or severe muscle spasms. In certain situations such as swimming, muscle cramps can lead to dangerous outcomes as it may affect one’s ability to swim resulting in drowning.
Muscle cramps are a common condition that may have affected each individual at least once in their life. It usually appears at midnight. It is represented by sudden hardening of muscles. It appears most commonly in the calf muscles, thigh or foot that may disturb your sleep and may drive you out of bed. It is more commonly seen in old people as muscle wasting happens with increasing age. It is also common in athletes who are more prone to injuries and in pregnant women.
The causes of muscle cramps can be overuse of the muscles, over-exercising, overstretching, long term performance of a particular task, injury, pregnancy, dehydration, deficiency of minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium or calcium, etc., deficiency of vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin B, etc., prolonged exposure to cold temperature, uterine or ovarian problems, diabetes, etc. Actually, muscle cramps are a sign of these problems.
Muscle cramps develop suddenly. It causes pain in the affected muscle. The affected muscle is felt as hard blocks under the skin. The affected muscle may appear slightly swollen. You will not be able to move the affected muscle as it would lead to tremendous pain. However, these symptoms do not last long. It will end in few minutes. These symptoms can be reduced by home treatments like application of hot or cold compresses, stretching, intake of lots of fluids and others.
If the symptoms make you more uncomfortable with unusual swelling in the affected area, changes in skin color, frequent episodes of cramps and these symptoms do not go by self-treatment, then medical intervention is necessary as it may point to other disease conditions.
Muscle cramps appear due to overexertion of the muscles. It can be an indication of various conditions like diabetes, kidney failure, etc. It is often a harmless condition that can be relieved by the application of hot water. It can be done by a hot bath, warm towel, electric bag, and hot water bag or bottle.