Monday, 3 November 2014

(Very) Frequent Leg Cramps

I have been experiencing frequent cramps in the legs. Mostly on the stretch from the back thighs to the buttocks.

I did have such cramps once in a while in the past, about once or twice a year.

When it happened, it would be so painful I would lie on the floor (fortunately, it usually happened at home) and screamed for help, begging for someone to help back-pull my sole in order to stretch the muscle. And all would be fine after a few minutes.

However, this year, similar cramps have been occurring very frequently, usually in the night when I am sleeping.

Sometimes, it happens to the right thigh; at other times, it is the left thigh.

Sometimes, it happens every night.

And gradually, the cramp even 'spreads' to other times of the day. It could be as random as when I am getting up from a bench after eating, or when I bend my leg/s backward.

The clinic doctor I visited suspected no malicious disease. He advised me to do some stretching in the day.

I haven't tried it yet. Probably because I am not convinced that it will work.

Today, I was in the Adventure River at Adventure Cove.

I decided to try swimming a stroke or two in the shallow water.

As I kicked my legs out, the cramps came in on both thighs. Ow ... !!!

One is bad enough. But two?!!

There was a flight of steps to dry ground about ten metres away. Oh, but when you have cramps, ten metres seem ten miles away. I thought I would never reach the steps. The only thing I wished was to be hauled up from the water immediately to have my pain relieved.

When I finally got there, William tried back-stretching my leg to relieve the pain. A lifeguard saw what happened and instructed me to lie down. After that, he lifted my leg (to allow blood to flow to the cramp) and massaged my sole (to encourage blood circulation).

It felt better after he did the same thing for the two legs.

Although the cramps went away, the muscle aches of the buttocks didn't, and haven't. Even right now as I am typing away, I am sitting on a heat pack hoping to relieve the aches.

I have googled for possible causes of cramps, particularly the ones occurring on the hamstring (back of thigh):

1) Altered neuromuscular control (whatever that means)
2) Dehydration
3) Electrolyte depletion
4) Poor conditioning
5) Muscle fatigue
6) Doing a new activity

I didn't think they were very useful to me. My priority was to treat the cramps. A search on the internet told me that I should:

1) lie on my back
2) lift my leg up high in the air at a 90 degree angle to the floor or bed
3) use a towel to pull at the sole while pulling at the two ends of the towel
4) hold the stretch until the cramp stops

This method did work a few times. However, its effectiveness seems to be wearing off.
And it's truly a pain to lift your leg up in the air when you are in great pain. No pun intended.

Till I find another method that works, I'll have to stick to this yet.

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