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What is the best way to treat muscle cramps?

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Sudden muscle cramps can be treated by massaging the area of discomfort, applying a heating pad to the cramp, stretching the affected muscle if possible and soaking the muscle in warm water, according to MedicineNet. Exercise-related cramps can also be treated by drinking fluids that are rich in electrolytes.

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Most muscle cramps appear abruptly and only last for a few minutes, but some forms of cramping linger and may require the use of medications such as muscle relaxants to help ease any related pain, notes MedicineNet. Chronic muscle pain may be professionally treated with Botox injections to provide relief for a period of several months, depending on a doctor's assessment of the condition. If muscle cramps are frequent and do not respond to home treatments or medications, a doctor is likely to investigate underlying health conditions that may affect a person's nerves, nutrition, metabolism, hormones or circulation.

Many times, prevention is the best method for avoiding muscle cramps. Options include incorporating adequate stretching, cool-down and warm-up sessions to exercise routines and remaining sufficiently hydrated during physical activity, especially if the exercise is strenuous, persists for long periods of time or is performed outdoors in the heat. Electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium should be maintained through proper hydration and dietary habits, explains MedicineNet. People who are prone to nocturnal cramping can benefit from a nightly stretching routine going to bed.

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