I am a large man, and I don’t exercise. It’s a fact of my life and it will probably never change. That being said, I get a fairly large number of muscle cramps throughout the day. These are not the cramps of an athlete who has pushed himself beyond the limit, or the cramps of someone who has awakened muscles that were previously never used. These are the cramps that come without warning. Maybe they come when you’re sitting down watching TV, or walking to the store, or maybe they come when you’re sleeping, and they wake you up with pain. Whenever they come, they come without warning and they stay for a long time…..if you don’t know how to get rid of them. Here’s a good WebMD link about them: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/muscle-spasms-cramps-charley-horse.
I have become an expert at relieving myself of the cramps that occur in the calf muscle. These types of cramps, my grandmother used to call “charley horses,” I don’t know where the name comes from, or who Charley was, but I’m sure he was in a lot of pain. The best way to relieve them is to stand hard on the foot of the leg with the cramp and shift your weight to that foot. This will force the foot flat onto the ground, making the muscle release it’s cramp.
I think my body has gotten wise, and it has become more creative with the locations of my cramps. One of its favorite places now is in the muscles on my sides, just below the armpit. I get these a lot, and I haven’t figured out how to counter them. I just have to let them run their course. The same goes for the cramps I sometimes get in my inner thigh. These like to happen at night when I jump out of bed to use the bathroom. It’s so painful that I can hardly put my foot onto the ground and I have to pee with one leg up, like a flamingo. This, of course, then causes my hamstrings to cramp up….but I know how to set those back in position!
Sometimes my jaw muscles cramp after a particularly big yawn, or the muscles on the bottom of my feet tighten up while they’re curled under me on the sofa. Once, the muscle in my hand that controls the thumb cramped up and my thumb was put into a strange position, sticking up from my palm. Back muscles, neck muscles, stomach muscles, the muscles in my chin….they have all seized up on me at one time or another. The problem is; you never really know when it’s coming.
One time I was at the movies and my hamstring cramped up. I couldn’t get up and bend over at the waist (the way to counter a hamstring cramp) because I was at the movies. So, I lived with the intense pain for the 10 minutes it took to relax and missed a good part of the movie. Or, there was the time I was sitting in a taxi, and the muscle in my abdomen tightened. This causes so much pain, but I was unable to get out of the taxi and try to walk it off, so I sat there, in pain, for the rest of the ride. When I finally got out, I was sore in that muscle. I get side cramps while teaching in the classroom, foot cramps when sitting at my desk and abdominal cramps when I’m using the toilet. They all come without warning and, of course, at inopportune times. It’s like they know…..and they plan…..am I being punished for all the bad food and lack of exercise I have given to my body all my life?