Cramp in water

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

A cramp in the water is any bather’s biggest fear. This is especially dangerous if the spasm overtook you far from the coast, then fear and panic are added to the pain. Even an experienced swimmer can get confused in such a situation, and an unprepared person can go to the bottom altogether.

What is a cramp?
A cramp is a spasm, a sudden, involuntary, and very painful contraction of a muscle (or several). Most often, the cramp is cramping the calf muscles and can compress the foot or thigh muscles. At the same time, a person feels acute pain and petrification of the muscle, constricted by spasm. Unpleasant sensations can last up to several minutes, after which they gradually disappear.

There can be several reasons for seizures in the water: overwork (on long-distance swims), hypothermia (as a result, vasoconstriction), muscle or ligament injury, dehydration, deficiency of potassium, magnesium, and calcium in the body. Stress, illness (especially diseases of the spine, blood vessels), poor health can also cause seizures. Often, leg cramps can occur in people suffering from osteochondrosis, in which blood circulation in the muscles is impaired.

What to do if you got a leg cramp in the water?
First of all, you need to calm down. If you panic, you will quickly fizzle out and go to the bottom. You need to try to relax as much as possible, lie down on the water, and then start calling loudly for help. If possible, try to grab onto something – a snag, a log, a boat, an oar, a lifebuoy. If you are far from the shore and no one is around, try one of the seizure control methods.

Prick with a pin
How often do we hear advice from the older generation – if you go swimming, take a pin with you. It turned out that this advice is not devoid of common sense. A pinprick into a spasmodic muscle will help restore blood circulation and relieve the spasm. Another thing is that when a person is in severe pain, cannot swim, and is seized with panic, he is unlikely to be able to carefully unfasten the pin as if to aim and prick into the muscle so that the spasm passes. But in emergency situations, all methods are good, so a pin (preferably an English one) will not be superfluous with you. If you have to use this method, remember – you need to prick sharply and strongly in the place where the muscle is most tense.
And if you don’t have a pin? Then you can try with your thumb several times to sharply press on the sore spot, the more painful, the faster the spasm will release.

Bite your lip
A bit strange and unusual way to relieve a seizure, but if there is no pin at hand, then you can sharply and strongly bite yourself on the lip, which has many pain points. For example, by clamping the middle of the upper lip with your teeth, you can relieve tension in the upper body, by biting the lower lip – we can relax the lower body.

Massage a spasmodic muscle
The most effective way to relieve cramps is to massage the spasmodic muscle. They need to be massaged with force, pressing and rubbing with your fingers with all your might. Try lying on your back in the water or in a floating pose, then grab your toes and pull them towards you. If your thigh muscles have contracted, try wrapping your hand around your leg from the outside just below the lower leg, at the very ankle. Then bend your knee and pull your hand firmly back towards your back.

When swimming, it is not recommended to swim far from the shore and swim alone. First aid for seizures is information that every person should have.
First of all, you need to calm down and try to stay in the water, turning over on your back. The main principle of getting rid of cramps is stretching and relaxing the affected muscles. If a pin or other sharp object is part of your swimsuit, lightly prick the spasmodic muscle. This rule works both on water and on land. Next, pulling the heel forward, pull your toes towards you, while simultaneously massaging the calf muscle. Stay in this position until the cramp disappears. Thus, if qualified assistance is provided to the victim in time and correctly, he can endure convulsive syndrome without much harm to health.

Preventing seizures at home
To avoid such a nuisance as leg cramps in the water, it is better to warm up well before swimming: jogging in place, lifting and bending the legs, squats. It will not be superfluous to thoroughly grind and stretch the calf and thigh muscles in advance to improve blood flow. Then even bathing in cold water will not cause severe vasoconstriction, which means it will not cause convulsions.

If you have diseases of the spine or blood vessels, then it is better not to take risks and do not swim to a depth. It is better if there is someone next to you who can quickly come to the rescue and pull you ashore.

And most importantly, if you suddenly have a cramp, it is important not to panic, otherwise, you can quickly swallow water and choke. Try to get into a comfortable position, lie on your back and call for help. Fear, panic, and vanity only make the situation worse.


7 thoughts on “Cramp in water”

  1. As a former lifeguard I have seen this too many times. Panic is usually the first reaction and this can be fatal. I know it is easy to say but first take a deep, deep breath and try, try ,try to stay calm. Grab the cramped and rub away from your heart. Squeeze as hard as you can. That will relieve the cramp quickly. But most important, stay calm, which is easier said than done.

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