Muscle Cramps: What Causes Them and How Can you Treat them Naturally?

November 21, 2019
In this article, we'll tell you more about muscle cramps, and some of the different ways you can treat them, and avoid them in future. You'll be surprised at just how easy it is to do!

Muscle cramps are an unpleasant symptom, and can appear for a number of reasons. However, they are not generally an indication of a more serious underlying problem. But what do they feel like? Muscle cramps often appear suddenly. Sufferers experience a tugging or tightening sensation, normally affecting the lower extremities. In short, cramps are an uncomfortable, involuntary contraction of the muscle.

There are a number of simple ways you can encourage the muscle to relax and the pain to subside. For best results, these methods must be combined with healthy lifestyle choices which contribute to your well-being.

Cramps in Muscles: Common Causes

There are many reasons why a person may experience muscle cramps, whether while resting or exercising. Here is a list of some of the most common causes:

Cramps usually occur in leg muscles.

Other causes

Tips to Prevent and Reduce Muscle Cramps

When you’re suffering from a cramp, the best thing you can do is lightly stretch the affected area to allow the blood to flow freely and encourage the muscle to relax.

Once the pain subsides, you could try a relaxing massage. In some cases, your doctor may be able to refer you to a physiotherapist.

Another simple method is to make sure to maintain proper “sleep hygiene”. If your legs often cramp up when you get in from work, elevate them for a few minutes. You could also try sleeping with your legs elevated on one or more pillows.

Needless to say, daily exercise, a good diet and proper hydration can be really useful for avoiding painful cramps and improving your general health.

A healthy, balanced diet

If you want to avoid muscle cramps, try to eat foods that are rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium, such as oranges, almonds, broccoli, leafy greens, soy milk, dairy products, nuts, whole grains, cocoa, beans, algae, soy flour.

Eating a banana a day, either before or after exercising can help to prevent muscle cramps. However, you can’t forget to also stay hydrated.

Daily exercise

When it comes to exercising, it’s essential to stretch properly. Practising activities such as yoga, pilates, or tai chi, among others, can help to reduce the prevalence of muscle cramps.

It’s important to remember that doing at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday is essential for boosting your blood circulation, and ensuring that your muscles, joints and tissues receive enough oxygen.

massaging leg muscles to treat cramps

Natural Remedies for Cramps in Muscles

Ginkgo biloba tea

ginkgo biloba tea

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of ginkgo biloba.
  • 1 cup of water.

Directions

Boil the ginkgo biloba in the water for 10 minutes. Then take off the heat, and let brew. Strain, and drink daily.

Rosemary and olive oil

Ingredients

  • Rosemary essential oil (however there is currently no scientific evidence to support its use in preventing or relieving muscle cramps).
  • Olive oil.

Directions

  • Mix both oils in equal parts (a few drops will be enough), and warm between your hands.
  • Then apply to the area affected by the cramp so that the heat and the properties of the oils can help soothe the pain.

Honey and apple cider vinegar

honey

Ingredients

Directions

Mix everything together, and drink immediately (being careful not to burn yourself) so that the calcium is distributed evenly throughout the body.

Mustard seeds

Ingredients

Directions

  • Boil the mustard seeds in water for 10 minutes.
  • Then fill your bath tub with warm water and pour in the mixture.
  • Remain in the bath until the water cools.

Further recommendations

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing.
  • Take a warm bath before going to bed.
  • Practice relaxation techniques.
  • Do exercises to help strengthen the ankles.

If you want to achieve the level of health and well-being you desire, it’s important to be consistent in your lifestyle habits. However, if your muscle cramps persist or become unbearable, be sure to talk to your doctor for an examination and early diagnosis.

  • Miller, K. C., Stone, M. S., Huxel, K. C., & Edwards, J. E. (2010). Exercise-associated muscle cramps: Causes, treatment, and prevention. Sports Health. https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738109357299
  • Sellers, R. G. (1992). Sports injuries. Practical diagnostic and management concerns for primary care physicians. Postgraduate Medicine.