A video of what is quite possibly the most painful-looking leg cramp ever has gone viral. The 50-second clip, posted Monday by Angel Bermudez on Facebook, has racked up 16 million views and more than 177,000 shares.
“After the workout. Start to relax and then this happens. Painful yes it was,” Bermudez wrote in the caption. The footage shows the muscles of his calf contracting and squirming, almost as if something were inside his leg, right under the skin.
Take a look, if you dare. (Warning: There’s some NSFW language in the caption.)
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“This is what a cramp looks like,” you can hear Bermudez saying between grunts and groans, clearly in significant discomfort.
Plenty of commenters said they found the alien-like motion of Bermudez’s cramp flat-out disturbing. But others had clearly been through similar pain, and were quick to offer advice: stand up and walk, stretch, eat a banana, drink more water.
Although we don’t usually recommend following health advice from strangers on Facebook, in this instance, they’re on to something. Those solutions might actually help.
Leg cramps are sudden and involuntary muscle contractions, and—even though they can hurt like heck—they’re usually harmless. Leg cramps are thought to be caused by some kind of irritation or activation of nerves that tell the muscles to contract, and stay that way.
The irritation can be brought on by a range of things, from dehydration to a mineral deficiency, or even pregnancy. Ramping up your workout intensity too quickly, or over-training tired muscles can also lead to cramping. (For more on the possible triggers, check out “13 Causes of Leg Cramps—And How to Stop Them.”)
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You can usually cure a cramp (especially one that comes up quickly after a workout) by hydrating with water, replacing electrolytes and minerals lost through sweat, and gentle stretching. But check with a doctor if you have frequent leg cramps that don’t seem to be related to physical activity or your diet. Some underlying health conditions, like peripheral arterial disease and multiple sclerosis, can also cause leg cramps.