The hands contain over 30 small muscles that allow for complete dexterity and complex movements. With over 30 muscles in each hand, this makes the grand total number of hand muscles well over 60 muscles. With over 600 muscles in the whole human body, the hands make up a whopping 10% of our total number of muscles. With such a high density of muscles in a compact region, it is astonishing that hand cramps do not occur more often.
Hands play a vital role in the everyday functioning of our day to day lives. From opening doors, writing, and even texting, hands enable us to do all of these tasks with ease. When a hand cramp strikes, it becomes obvious how much we rely on our hands and how much we rely on them to reliably work. When a hand cramp sets in it can hinder your ability to do basic tasks and can stop you in your tracks.
Below are the top six tricks you can use to help stop a hand cramp quickly and easily.
One tried and tested method to efficiently subside any cramp is to stretch the cramped area out.
In the case of a hand cramp, you can place the hand down on the table and force your hand flat. By stretching the muscle out in this fashion it allows the muscle the ability to release from their tightened state. Another great way to stretch out the muscles in the hand is to grab the fingers of the cramped hand with the other hand and pull the fingertips backward and toward your body while you face your palm away from your body. Doing so is an effective way to stretch a majority of hand muscles.
When a hand cramp occurs, it can force the hand into many different awkward positions and it may be hard to stretch these muscles out. Before attempting to stretch out a cramp it is wise to wait a few seconds to see if the cramp resolves itself. If the cramp does release on its own, place the hand flat on the table and allow it time to rest for a few seconds. This will help inhibit a secondary cramp that may occur.
Massaging is another great way to relieve a hand cramp quickly. The best method for cramp relief is to massage the area while you are also stretching the area. Doing so will better allow the cramped hand to release and relax.
Proper massage techniques for cramps should be followed. A great effective technique that works for a wide variety of cramps is to rub along the cramped muscle and move up and down with constant pressure. For more stubborn cramps, pressure can be increased to allow the massage to penetrate down to the deeper muscle fibers.
The application of heat can be extremely helpful for a muscle cramp of muscle that is tight. Heat works by increasing blood flow to the area, which promotes electrolyte exchange.
Electrolyte deficiencies are the most common source of cramps and by increasing electrolyte exchange through increasing circulation, you are effectively treating the underlying physiological reasoning behind cramp formation.
The muscle-relaxing capabilities of heat are what makes jacuzzis, hot tubs, and saunas so relaxing. Each of these methods works by improving blood flow to the muscles and therefore allow muscles a better opportunity to relax.
Drink Electrolyte Solution
As described above, an electrolyte deficiency is a common issue that leads to cramping. Cramps can be caused by low calcium or potassium levels as well as dehydration. These electrolytes are vital in the proper functioning of the muscle cells.
To replenish the electrolytes in the blood and restore hydration you can drink a sports drink or electrolyte supplement formulated to reestablish electrolyte levels.
Many stubborn cramps can cause irritation pain. These conditions can lead to what is known as guarding which can greatly increase the duration of a cramp. Guarding is a natural body response that consists of the involuntary spasms of muscles to protect a site of injury. In the case of a cramp, the cramping pain can be a source of guarding and produces its own kind of positive feedback loop where the cramping pain creates guarding reflexes, which then worsen the pain in the cramp.
To reduce pain and help release a cramp that is stubborn there are two methods that can be utilized.
The first is the utilization of a TENS unit. A TENS unit is a small device that utilizes the power of electricity to minimize the sensation of pain while simultaneously causing the release of the body’s natural pain killers. The Hempvana Rocket is a great option for treating hand cramps because it has 3 unique heads in a small and compact form factor. With muscles in the hand being fairly small, the Hempvana Rocket makes for the perfect tool for the job. Simply place the electrodes on the hand and watch as it works its magic to reduce pain and massage the muscles.
The second option is the utilization of topical analgesics. Topical analgesics, also known as topical pain relievers, are a great option for stubborn hand cramps because they can be rubbed on the surface of the hands in a snap. A great solution is to utilize Hempvana’s Platinum Pain Relief Cream. With four times the hemp seed extract paired with soothing ingredients, it will leave your hands relieved and free of cracks and dryness.
By far the best tip for treating a hand cramp is to avoid having them occur in the first place. There are only so many things that can be done when a hand cramp occurs, but there are many options that can reduce the risk of cramping that is effective. Below are three great preventative measures you can take to prevent cramps.
Stretching is a good way to treat an active hand cramp, but it is also a great way to avoid them in the first place. Before doing a hand-intensive task, consider stretching the muscles in your hands. Stretching promotes blood flow to the muscles and in a way preps the capillaries and blood vessels for the intensive tasks.
Warming up is a great rule of thumb to avoid cramps in large muscle groups like the calves, thighs, and more. Warming up works in a similar manner to stretching. Warming up and slowly progressing intensity essentially primes your circulatory system for the intensive task to come. Going from a standstill to a full-on effort is a recipe for disaster as your circulatory system has to play catchup rather than being primed and ready for the main event.
For hands, it may be harder to think of ways to warm them up. Hand intensive activities like typing, playing instruments, and more require fast and precise movements of the fingers and hands. A great way to warm up your hands is to ease into the task you are about to begin and slowly progress in speed. For example, let’s say you are a pianist and are going to play a song perfectly for an audience of people. A warmup could consist of going through the song at a slow tempo and doing finger exercises.
A common time to cramp a muscle is not only during activity but also immediately following intense activity. A great way to minimize the chances of cramps post-task is to utilize a compression device of some kind.
Athletes utilize compression to aid in recovery all the time. Compression socks are a common form of compression utilized by athletes to reduce muscle swelling and soreness after a workout or game.
For hands, it can be difficult to find a compression garment that can be used due to the complex shape of the hands. You could utilize arthritis compression gloves as a means of compression for the hands. While not designed as a means of recovery, they can effectively reduce swelling in the hands, increase blood flow to help recovery, and reduce the chances of developing a hand cramp.
In summary, hand cramps can stop you at any moment in the day. Whether you are folding laundry or in the middle of a meeting, a hand cramp is no laughing matter as it can be painful and frustrating all at the same time.
The information in the article will allow you to be more informed and to know of tricks to alleviate a hand cramp in the event that it ever occurs. Stretching, massaging, heat, electrolytes, and topical pain relief are all ways to treat a hand cramp for fast-acting results. Knowing this in addition to knowing how to effectively avoid hand cramps in the first place can allow you to live a potentially hand cramp-free life.