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Muscle Cramps in Thighs

Involuntary contraction of muscles results in cramps. Muscle cramps in thighs can be described as a sudden intense pain in the thigh muscles which makes them stiff. Sometimes, normal leg movements become impossible due to such cramps. Let us find out more on this.
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Cramps in thighs is a common occurrence while doing strenuous physical activities like exercising or lifting of heavy weight. Sudden contraction of the muscles gives rise to a sharp localized pain. Usually, it lasts for a few seconds or a minute but sometimes, it may continue for 15 minutes or so. However, the tenderness and discomfort of the cramped muscles tend to bother for the next 24 hours. In some cases, it recurs a number of times in a short span of time. People of all age groups experience this problem but pregnant women, obese people, elderly people are more susceptible to it.
Causes
Inflexible Muscles
There are two muscle groups in the thighs which get affected by spasms. They are: quadriceps or the front thigh muscles and hamstrings or inner thigh muscles. Basically, the muscles are made of a bunch of fibers whose expansion and contraction facilitate thigh and leg movements. When the muscles remain inactive for quite some time, the fibers become inflexible which leads to muscle fatigue. In this condition, if you start exercising without proper warm-up, the muscles get injured and cramps occur.
Dehydration
Lack of sufficient fluid in the body is another cause of muscle cramps. If a person is doing some physical activity or exercise in hot weather, it is likely that the body fluids supplied to the muscles are drained out very fast because of sweating. As a result, a large amount of essential nutrients like magnesium, calcium and potassium that are responsible for keeping the muscles relaxed, are lost out in the process. Muscles contract abnormally due to dehydration.
Stress
Overuse of thigh muscles during heavy exercises like leg presses and sitting in the same position for a long time are the other possible causes of the cramps. Here, spasms occur as the supply of oxygen to these muscles decreases.
Inadequate Supply of Blood
Any problem in the circulatory system inhibits the proper blood supply to the thighs which in turn triggers muscle spasms. Those who are suffering from peripheral arterial disease often complain about thigh cramps at night. It can be a symptom of a number of other medical conditions which include diabetes, spinal cord problems, underactive thyroid, kidney failure, alcoholism, etc.
Side Effects of Medication
Side effects of certain form of medicines like diuretics used for treating high blood pressure, birth control pills, etc. can cause cramps.
Home Remedies
Plenty of Water
Cramps due to dehydration are relieved by increasing the fluid intake to replenish the fluid loss.
Massage
For an instant relief from the cramps in thighs, a gentle massage is very helpful. Make sure the direction of the strokes of your hand are the same as the thigh muscles. It promotes blood circulation in the affected part of the muscles and the tension is released from them.
Applying Ice Pack
Rub the ice pack on the thigh, for say about 10 minutes. Continue to rub the ice over the area until the skin becomes red. Such a reddening effect clearly indicates that the underlying blood cells are stimulating the affected muscles for relaxation.
Heat Compression
There are two different methods of heat application. Take a heating pad and place it on the thigh for 15 minutes. The heat improves the blood flow in the region that heals up the muscle injury. Another method is taking a bath under a hot shower. Keep the temperature of the water as much as you can bear comfortably. Allow more and more of the shower water to flow over the cramped thigh muscle and feel the soothing effect of the warm water.
Stretching Exercise
Some simple stretching exercises work wonders on cramps, particularly the hamstrings. Just stretch the leg forward, point the toes upward and hold the position for around 30 seconds. Then put down the foot and you will find that the stiffness is gone.
Herbal Teas
Chamomile tea has a form of amino acid that can act as a natural muscle relaxer. If you often have muscular spasms in thighs, drink 4-5 cups of chamomile tea every day, for two weeks, to get relief from it.
Honey and Vinegar
Both apple cider vinegar and honey are good for this condition. Prepare a mixture, by adding two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of honey into a glass of warm water. Drinking this mixture daily will not only help you to get rid of the cramps but also prevent its further recurrence.
Most of the time, it has been found that the cramps do not have any serious consequences on the health and one can get relief with the help of home remedies only. However, if you find that the pain is severe and home treatments are not showing effective results, then you require medical intervention. Consult your doctor immediately.
Disclaimer:This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.