Cramp occurs when a muscle contracts too hard resulting in a painful spasm or clenching of the muscle.
Common Signs & Symptoms
Sudden pain and tightness in the muscle, usually lasting from a few minutes to a quarter of an hour. The most common areas affected are the calves, thighs and feet. Cramp can be caused by exercise but may also begin at rest.
Cramp occurs when a muscle contracts too hard resulting in a painful spasm or clenching of the muscle. Regular cramp tends to affect the over 60 age group and can occur for no particular reason, but there are a number of other causes of cramp, including:
- Over stimulation (hyperexcitability) of the nerve which goes to the muscles
- Over-exertion of muscles (from Muscles Imbalances or Altered Biomechanics)
- Lack of salt or potassium (Electrolyte Imbalance or Poor Nutrition)
- Lack of water (dehydration)
- Too much insulin (your body's hormone that breaks down sugars)
- Thyroid problems
- Poor circulation from narrowed leg arteries
- Alcohol and drugs
- Certain medications
- Pregnancy - usually in the later stages
- Some uncommon nerve problems
Advice & Treatment
Treatment depends on the reason you have developed cramp, but it can be eased by:
- Regular stretching or massage to the most commonly affected muscles.
- Stay hydrated. You should drink at least 8 glasses of water every day
- Taking supplements or eat foods to boost your magnesium, potassium or sugar eg banana, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate as part of a balanced diet
- Gentle exercise to improve circulation and streetch the affected muscles
- Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication, on medical advice, if discomfort persists.