The video of a man's extreme leg cramp is going viral. What exactly causes leg cramps and how can it be prevented?
A video of a man's extreme muscle cramp after a workout caught many people's attention this week and quickly went viral. The video was short and simple. It showed a man's painful-looking cramp, which according to the poster of the video, happened after a workout.
People immediately reacted to the video, describing it as painful and bizarre, as the muscles on the man's calf are seen writhing or wriggling inside his leg. Many, however, likened the man's painful experience to an alien living inside his leg.
Others likened it to a human fetus wriggling inside its mother's womb.
"After the workout. Start to relax and then this happens," said Angel Bermudez on the Facebook post. So far, the original Facebook post has already garnered 56,000 reactions and more than 200,000 shares.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, muscle cramps or "charley horses" are sudden, involuntary spasms that occur in one or more muscles. It is a very common condition that often occurs at night or after a workout, and can last from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
What causes muscle cramps? There are many possible causes and the more common causes are muscle overuse, dehydration, minerals and electrolyte depletion, and not getting enough blood flow to the muscles.
Common muscle groups affected by cramps are calves, arches of the feet, and thighs. However, they can also be caused by severe nerve malfunction that could be due to a pinched nerve in the back or neck, or a spinal cord injury.
According to Dr. Carolyn Quist, an osteopathic physician from Fort Worth, Texas, no one is immune from having cramps. Regardless of age or lifestyle, anyone can experience cramping at some point in their lives. That being said, the elderly, infants, athletes, and overweight people are more at risk of experiencing muscle cramps.
Treating Muscle Cramps
Because muscle cramps often do not last for very long, they do not really require any medical attention. To ease the pain, Dr. Quist suggests immediately stopping the activity which caused the cramping. Stretching and applying heat compress to the affected area are also recommended.
When it comes to physical activities, engaging in flexibility exercises and stretches as well as regular hydration are recommended. However, going to a medical practitioner may be required if the muscle cramps happen frequently, do not respond properly to treatment, or are not related to any specific event.