Anyone who has ever been woken up in the middle of the night with a sharp pain in their calf knows the agony of a muscle spasm. But luckily, that pain usually subsides in less than a minute.
Not for Angel Bermudez, though, who recently experienced a leg cramp that lasted 10 whole minutes. It was so severe that you can literally see his muscle squeezing and loosening through his skin in a video he uploaded to Facebook on Monday.
"What the fuckin fuck???? It looks like an alien is gonna hatch and pop through your skin any second," Bermudez's friend wrote in the comments on the video. And he's not even exaggerating.
Just take a look for yourself:
Ok, who else is experiencing some second-hand leg pain after watching that?
As one person wrote in the comments, it's likely that this happened to Bermudez because he had just come from the gym after a workout and didn't stretch afterward or drink enough water. Muscle cramps are pretty common after exercise (though not usually ones this severe), and Bermudez says he was pushing hard.
"I was working out hard. Doing legs, with weights. Then the treadmill, on incline," he tells Refinery29. "My legs were beat."
That could easily have led to his cramp.
"The main culprit is running out of the fuel that helps muscles contract and relax, and they wind up stuck in an 'on' position," exercise physiologist Dean Somerset, C.S.C.S., told SELF last year. That "fuel" he's talking about is sodium and potassium, both of which help signal muscles when it's time to contract and when to relax, and both of which are lost in sweat.
In order to avoid cramps like the one Bermudez experienced, or at all, it's important to stay hydrated during a workout and to remember to replace these important electrolytes. That can be accomplished through the right post workout snack — bananas, for example, are an excellent source of potassium — or through sports drinks meant to replenish electrolytes like Gatorade.
Yet, even if you're properly hydrated, muscle cramps can still strike. So, while we seriously hope no one ever has a leg cramp this severe ever again, you may not have been woken up with your last charley horse. But next time you feel that sharp pain, just stretch out your leg and gently massage it with your fingers.
"Massage is an effective treatment because it creates a neurostimulation to cause the muscle to relax a little bit more," Kate Bishop, C.S.C.S., a personal trainer, told SELF. "Stop the movement that caused it, breathe deeply, and lightly massage [the area]. Be patient and try to remain calm."
The good news, Bermudez tells us, is that doing fine now and his legs are back to normal.
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