Nocturnal Cramps

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Cramps

A cramp is an involuntary contracted muscle that does not relax. They can affect part of all of a muscle, or several muscles in a group. The most commonly affected muscle groups are the thigh and calf muscles, although cramps in the feet, hands, arms, abdomen and along the rib cage are also very common. They range in intensity from a mild sensation to agonising pain. A cramping muscle may feel hard to the touch and/or appear visibly distorted or twitch beneath the skin. It can last a few seconds to 15 minutes or longer, and may recur multiple times before it goes away.

It is believed that inadequate stretching and muscle fibres so they can contract and tighten more vigorously when you exercise. Muscle fatigue is produced more rapidly when the muscles are poorly conditioned. Overexertion depletes a muscle’s oxygen supply, leading to build up of waste product and spasm. When a cramp starts the spinal cord stimulates the muscle to keep contracting. Muscle cramps are more likely when you exercise in hot weather because sweat drains your body’s fluids, salt and minerals (i.e. potassium, magnesium and calcium).

Cramps are more likely to occur as you age, as muscle starts to atrophy (shrink) after the age of 40. This increases with inactivity, and is aggravated if overweight or unwell. Cramps are also common in infants and endurance athletes. Nightime cramps are common in the elderly.

Muscle stretching and relaxation techniques may be effective in the prevention of nocturnal cramps.

Exercise 1:-
Stand bare-footed 1m from a wall, leaning forward with your back straight and outstretched hands against the wall.
Lift your hands off the floor to produce tension in your calf muscles
Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times
This should be repeated 3 times a day for a week, then each night before retiring

Exercise 2:-
Rest in a chair with your feet out horizontally, with support from a cushion under your tendo-achilles, for 10 minutes

Medications/Supplements:-
There are a number of medications which are sometimes used in the management of nightime cramps. These include:
Quinine sulphate 300 mg at night (some people say tonic water helps)
Magnesium supplement; there are many and we have several here in the clinic (personally once I balanced my inner health supplement regime I no longer have cramps or at least really rarely)
Calcium supplement, again many available (my experience has been absorption as with magnesium as well) several available have some suggestions here in clinic. Blood tests shall reveal your levels
Our recommendation would be to come in when you can and have a Biophotonic Scan done.

This will show you how well several factors of your inner health are performing.

As ever in wellness,

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