Signs and Symptoms
1. A sudden, harshly painful tightening of a muscle.
2. A muscle that is hard.
3. In some cases, visible twitching of the muscle.
4. Heat cramps: sudden, severe spasms in the legs, arms and in the abdominal muscles.
What to do now
1. Stretch. For leg muscles, face a wall and put your hands or forearms against it; then, keeping your feet flat on the floor, take steps backward until you are leaning against the wall from several feet away.
2. Massage. Begin at the edge of the cramp and move in toward the center, squeezing the muscle gently.
3. For a stubborn cramp, immerse the area in warm water while stretching and massaging the muscle.
4. If you have heat camps, get out of the sun and drink cool water or an energy drink.
5. For menstrual cramps, take warm baths or put a hot-water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen.
When to call a doctor
1. If you have heat cramps accompanied by dizziness or disorientation; this can be a sign of heat stroke.
2. If you get a severe, cramping pain in your chest, shoulders, or arms; this can signal a heart attack.
3. If you suffer from long-term or frequent muscle cramps.
How to prevent it
1. Drink eight to ten glasses of water every day.
2. Do stretching exercises regularly, especially before going to bed.
3. Warm up and stretch before exercising.
4. To prevent heat cramps in hot weather, drink a small glass (about four ounces) of cool water before and after exercise and every 15 minutes during exercise. (Drinking lots of cold water at once may cause stomach upset.) If your drink other beverages like coca cola or pepsi, drink one low in sugar.