Muscle Cramps

Muscles cramps are caused by chronic contraction or abnormal toning of the muscles, of which there are three types skeletal, smooth, and heart. Symptoms of muscle cramps include tightness in the muscle, pain, and/or tingling and burning in the affected area.

Everyone experiences muscle cramping at some time, but those who are most prone to it tend to live a sedentary lifestyle, do not exercise regularly, lack magnesium-rich foods in their diet (especially green vegetables) and/or eat an excess of foods that reduce calcium, such as animal foods, grains, soda, caffeinated beverages, refined sugars, and processed foods high in phosphates.

What To Consider

Muscle cramps can be due to lack of exercise; low thyroid function; deficiencies in iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, and/or folic acid; dietary imbalances; food allergies; excessive coffee consumption; poor posture; spinal problems; uncomfortable footwear; past injury; stress; poor circulation; heart problems; general fatigue; diabetes; and/or arthritis. If muscle cramping becomes chronic, all of these factors need to be screened for and, if present, addressed.

Note
Diuretic medications can worsen muscle cramps and spasms because of their tendency to deplete the body of essential minerals, particularly potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and may create worse muscle spasms.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Eat an organic, whole foods diet that is high in calcium-rich and magnesium-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables, fruits (particularly apricots), organic yogurt, kefir, millet, raw nuts and seeds, and raw organic honey. Minimize your intake of citrus fruits, meats, and grains. Overall, you want your diet to be one that supports alkalinity and minimizes acidity, so you need to make sure each meal of the day is high in fruit or vegetable content. Also eliminate coffee and other caffeine drinks and drink plenty of pure filtered water throughout the day.

Nutritional Supplementation
The following nutrients are very helpful for relieving and preventing muscle cramps calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, trace minerals, a multimineral supplement, vitamin B complex, vitamin B1, vitamin B3 (niacin), folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, and chlorophyll.

Muscle cramps, particularly in the calf muscles, can also occur because of a lack of sodium in the body. To prevent this, take a half a teaspoon of organic sea salt or Celtic salt in a glass of water once a day.

Aromatherapy
Rosemary, lavender, marjoram, chamomile, or clary sage essential oil massaged into the affected area can provide rapid relief of most muscle cramping.

Flower Essences
Rescue Remedy Cream applied topically over the affected area.

Herbs
As its name suggests, cramp bark tea is an excellent herbal remedy for preventing and relieving muscle cramps. A tincture of equal parts lobelia and cramp bark can also be applied topically to soothe the affected muscles.

Hydrotherapy
Hot packs, Epsom salt packs or baths, sitz baths, and/or a full, hot bath can hasten recovery from muscle cramps. For nighttime leg cramps, soak in a hot bath for 20-30 minutes before going to bed, then stretch your legs.

Juice Therapy
Carrot, beet, celery, and cucumber juice can provide your body with vital nutrients to minimize your risk of cramping.

Topical Treatment
Massage cramping muscles with a mixture of grated ginger juice and equal parts olive or sesame oil. Repeat as needed throughout the day.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

Back to Health Conditions A to Z

 

 


 

 

 

All material © 2010 WellnessWatchersMD. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of WellnessWatchersMD's terms of use and privacy policy. The information provided in this Web site is intended for your general knowledge only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please see your personal physician immediately if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.