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What You Should Know About Muscle Cramps

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Have you ever had your calf seize up as you're falling asleep or even give out in the middle of a run? If so, you're not alone and what you've experienced is actually just a common muscle cramp. Also known as charley horses, these cramps can occur in several different muscles and can be easily treated with heat therapy. Read on for everything you need to know about muscle cramps.

Causes of Muscle Cramps
Caused by spasms or involuntary contractions of one or more muscles, muscle cramps are generally not very serious, though they can temporarily prevent you from using the afflicted muscle. Almost everyone will experience them at one point or another and there are a number of potential causes. Most charley horses come without warning and often follow a period of intense exercise, overexertion of calf muscles or a lack of proper stretching or warm up. During grueling physical activity, such as a race or sporting event, muscle fatigue and dehydration are two of the most common factors attributed to muscle spasms.

Muscle cramps often occur without any warning.Muscle cramps often occur without any warning.

However, these muscle cramps can also occur outside of exercise. Poor blood circulation in the legs, nerve compression and a lack of potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can also lead to uncomfortable charley horses. Aging is another contributing factor.

The most telltale signs of a muscle cramp are stiffness and a sudden, sharp pain. Sometimes, when occurring in the calf, a hard lump of muscle tissue is visible just below the skin. For the most part, these charley horses may go away on their own with natural treatment at home. Symptoms among people who experience them frequently include muscle weakness, consistent discomfort and even swelling.

Treating Muscle Cramps
Preventing muscle cramps before they occur is one of the best forms of treatment. That involves proper nutrition and hydration as well as regular stretching and warming up before engaging in physical activity. Once cramping occurs, heat and massage therapy are good ways to treat the discomfort. Hot baths, warm towels, heating pads and massaging techniques can help the sore muscle relax. Heat therapy helps relax muscles and promotes blood flow to restore oxygen and nutrients to inflamed areas to help accelerate healing.

Heat Therapy Options for Cramping
Sunbeam® Heat Therapy Pads bring relief from discomforts associated with muscle cramps such as pain, stiffness and tenderness. Heating pads range in size, shape and performance to provide you with the ultimate choice for naturally feeling better. For a charley horse, you can use the Sunbeam® Massaging Heating Pad to gently massage the tender calf or back muscle to promote blood flow and relax the tension. Combining both heat and message technology - with two settings for each - this heating pad is designed to help you and your sore muscles to feel more relaxed.

Most often, muscle cramps occur in the calf and are best known as "charley horses."Most often, muscle cramps occur in the calf and are best known as "charley horses."

For soothing muscle cramps with comfort and convenience in mind, look no further than the Sunbeam® Ultra-Soft Heating Pad with Integrated Ties. Designed with a soft microplush material and made to fit all areas including your neck, joints, back and stomach, this heating pad is versatile enough for even your toughest-to-reach muscle cramps. Equipped with UltraHeat™ Technology, this heating pad maintains even and consistent heat so that you can get the comfort your muscles need. It also has the option of moist or dry heat therapy and four different settings so that you can choose the best option to meet your needs. Best of all, integrated ties help to keep the pad in place so you can go about your day without having your hands tied and, a slide controller makes it easier to operate.

With these heating pads, you'll be back on your feet in no time!