A prolonged, painful and involuntary contraction of a muscle is known as cramp. Any muscle can be affected, but these spasms commonly occur in the calf or the foot. These sudden, painful cramps, or spasms, in the muscles of the leg often occur at night and are common among athletes, people with circulatory problems, during pregnancy, but the people most at risk for leg cramps are the elderly, those who are overweight, and those who are ill.
Cramps may be caused by an injury to the muscle, by overworking or overstretching the muscle, or by an abrupt constriction in one of the arteries supplying blood – or oxygen – to the muscle. When the muscle does not get the oxygen it needs, it goes into spasm, causing intense pain.
One should treat the cramp gently. Although it is difficult at the heat of the moment; try not to jump up and down on the affected leg or slap the area that’s cramping. The best way to alleviate the problem is with massage and stretching; as stretching the muscle will help to relieve the pain and gentle massage is also useful, as is walking about the room. However, nutrition is possibly the most effective way to prevent cramping.
Nutrition to prevent the occurrence of leg cramps
When cramp occurs during or immediately after exercise, it is likely to be the result of a gradual build-up of lactic acid, which is a by-product of muscle activity. If the exercise has been fairly vigorous and the weather very hot or humid, the cramp may be due to dehydration caused by excessive sweating. An isotonic drink will help to replace the fluids and salts as quickly as possible.
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise – about a liter per hour of activity. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), found in fortified breakfast cereals, yoghurt and lean meat, may be useful for cramps in athletes, as well as for cramps associated with pregnancy and diabetes.
Leg cramps may signal a lack of calcium, needed for muscle contraction. Foods high in calcium are dairy products, sesame seeds and sardines eaten with their bones. Magnesium, too, may be helpful – seeds and nuts are excellent sources.
Night leg cramps are generally a result of poor circulation. Eating foods high in vitamin E (like avocados and vegetable oils) may help to improve the poor circulation causing them. Night cramps in the elderly may also be helped by vitamin B12, found in foods such as fish, eggs, cheese and pork.
Natural remedy for leg muscle cramps to relieve sudden calf and thigh pain during the day or night.
Various conventional medications have been known to cause leg cramps and worsen symptoms. However, natural and alternative treatments provide a safe and effective solution to help alleviate leg cramp symptoms.
Below mentioned are some of the homeopathic remedies usually recommended for preventing recurring leg cramps. These homeopathic leg cramp remedies relieve acute pain associated with leg cramps, relax muscle spasms in the legs and calves, and encourage healthy circulation in the lower limbs.
Calc phos (6X) is a biochemic tissue salt that promotes strength of muscles during times of growth and development. It is also excellent for promoting healthy circulation.
Mag phos (6X) is one of the 12 Biochemic Tissue Salts and is very useful in maintaining rested limbs. Mag phos also addresses adequate absorption of Magnesium into the system.
Rhus tox (6C) is a natural homeopathic remedy recommended to support comfort in the legs as well as healthy sleep patterns during the night.
Nux vom (12C) suits those who consume too much rich food or coffee and can be used to address cramps occurring in the legs, often at night.
Fortunately, the cramps generally disappear on their own within a minute or two. If you are still troubled by persistent, recurring leg cramps, see your doctor. Cramps that occur after exercise may have a serious underlying cause; most night cramps in older people, however, are not serious and can be relieved with simple medications.