In this article
Reasons for Muscle Cramps in TeenagersSigns of a Muscle CrampPreventing Muscle Cramps in TeenagersTreating Muscle Cramps in Teenagers
Many a time, parents get worried if they have a teen who wakes up at night or suddenly stands up from his seat with a growing pain in his leg. This is a common condition known as muscle cramps. It is nothing serious to be concerned about, but causes utter pain to your teen, and so needs to be taken care of. This problem can happen to anyone but is more typical in teenagers who are involved in sports. Their muscles often tend to stiffen up or get tense, leading to a cramp.
Remember, these cramps are out of your child’s control, and there is not much that he can do about it. Also, cramps come without a warning and are extremely painful most times. It makes your teen incapable to use that muscle for the time-being. The most common type of muscle cramp takes place in legs. So for example if the leg muscles tighten up there, a sudden pain arises and your teen is not able to move his feet.
Reasons for Muscle Cramps in Teenagers
There can be many factors that contribute to muscle cramps. Some of them include:
- Overuse of a muscle
- Side-effects of certain strong medications
- Too much physical activity in warm weather
- Sitting in a specific position for a long period
These are some general reasons for muscle cramps. However, there are children who have some specific medical conditions that may result in stiffening of muscles, like:
- If there is not enough blood flow to the muscles
- If the nerves are compressed
- If there is an insufficient intake of some necessary mineral required by the body. Lack of magnesium and potassium specifically has been linked to the occurrence of cramping.
Signs of a Muscle Cramp
- Appearance of a visible hard lump beneath the skin
- A sudden sharp pain in the muscle
- Tightening of the muscles
- A sudden muscle spasm, similar to a twinge or seizure
Preventing Muscle Cramps in Teenagers
- The best way to avoid muscle cramps is by taking in lots of fluids, before and after any physical activity. Encourage your teen to have water every 15 minutes when he is physically active.
- Always discourage your teen from exercising when the outdoor temperature is very high.
- Get your teen to do calf stretches before going to sleep each night. The best way to do them is to sit on the floor and stretch the legs out in front. Follow this by flexing the feet, bending at the waist and trying to touch the toes gently. Remember, at this time he should not point his toes.
Treating Muscle Cramps in Teenagers
- Teach your teen to immediately stop doing the activity that triggered the cramp.
- Teach him to start stretching and massaging the muscle that is cramped.
- In case your teen has a calf cramp, teach him to put weight on the leg that is cramped, and also try bending the knee. If he is not able to stand, ask him to try and pull the top of his foot on the side that is affected and move towards the head side, keeping the leg straight.
- Applying something warm to the tight/tense muscles and applying something cold to the tender/sore muscles is a good idea too.
Remember that muscle cramps go away within minutes and usually do not warrant any type of medical attention. Teach your teens to try these treatment methods and their pain will go away in a jiffy. However, if it persists for a longer duration, then there is a chance that it is something severe. Seek expert help in such cases, as soon as possible.