Cramps are involuntary, sudden, small muscle contractions that cause pain.
Cramps occur primarily in the legs, and more rarely in the hands, neck, and also in the chest area and abdomen.
While sleeping, have you ever felt a severe, sudden pain in the legs that wakes you feeling jittery?
I have! I felt the cramp pain sometimes when swimming too!
If yes is also your answer, you’re not the only ones who have experienced this unpleasant experience. Indeed, research has shown that about 70% of adults, especially over 50 years, experience at times, nocturnal muscle cramps.
Nocturnal muscle cramps in the legs are muscle contractions usually occur in the muscles of the back of the leg. Sometimes cramps can occur in the soleus muscles of the legs. They cause severe pain, and patient cannot move the muscles affected.
Time And Duration of Cramps
Cramps are prolonged contractions of one or more muscle groups that occur without patient’s will. They occur more frequently when a patient falls asleep or when he/she awakens.
The duration of cramps is from a few seconds up to ten minutes long. However, the pain they cause may persist for longer.
Almost all people have occasional experienced leg cramps. Nevertheless, they occur more frequently in middle-aged and in elderly people.
No one knows the exact causal mechanism that is responsible for nocturnal leg cramps. Abnormalities associated with the metabolism of electrolytes that are essential for muscle function are regarded as the most likely factors to cause cramps.
The Most Common Causes of Night Cramps
The most common causes of night cramps include:
- Excessive muscular efforts or exercises
- Long time in a sedentary position
- Diseases of the thyroid gland
- Endocrine problems
- Low potassium levels in the blood
- Diseases of the neuromuscular system such as Parkinson’s disease
- Certain drugs such as diuretics, antipsychotics, albuterol (beta agonist is used for treatment of asthma).
- Drugs like calcium channel blockers, niacin (belonging to the vitamin B family)
- Alcohol abuse
How to Prevent Experiencing Cramps
- Drink sufficient water so that your body has adequate electrolytes and minerals.
- Do not stay for long hours in the heat and the sun, nor should you be too cold.
- Always warm-up before exercise. In the end, make relaxation exercises. Especially if you are not quite toned, then the chances of cramps happening to you are a lot more than someone who is frequently training.
- Before you go to bed, do several stretches with your legs to stimulate blood circulation.
Top 4 Herbs to Find Relief of Cramps
- Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla)
Chamomile flowers have significant properties and help when you need to find relief from painful cramps. It is a “cure-all” herb especially for babies and small children.
Chamomile has antiseptic, antispasmodic, soothing, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Chamomile is an excellent herb that can reduce the pain associated with cramping.
How to use: Pour boiling water into a cup with one teaspoon of chamomile. Leave the tea to sit for 4-5 minutes and then strain the contents. Very slowly drink up to two cups a day.
- Club Moss (Lycopodium clavatum)
Club moss is one of the oldest living plants still around on Earth.
The healing properties of Club moss are due to the radium that the herb contains.
The use of a pillow with club moss is great for foot and leg cramps, as well as with bladder cramps.
How to use: Fill a liner pillow with slightly dried club moss, and then stitch it. When it is time to use the club moss pillow, warm it in a dry pan or the oven (it should be warm, not hot). Apply it onto the cramped area and leave it for 3-4 hours or for better results, leave overnight.
- Ginger (Zingiber Officinale)
Ginger is considered a valuable medicine, especially in China and India, and there are reports about it in the documents of Confucius.
Ginger has been widely used in China for over 2000 years to treat stomach problems, diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, and cramps as it stimulates the circulation. It is also used for the symptoms of colds, headaches, fever and sore throat.
How to use: Pour a spoonful from the root of Ginger into a cup of boiling water to prepare a tincture. Leave it to sit for 4-5 minutes, strain, and drink whenever is needed.
- Thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
Thyme is an excellent remedy for all kinds of cramps. In particular, it helps with menstrual and abdominal cramps, as well as stomach cramps.
A thyme pillow or a cup of tea with thymus is excellent for stomach, and abdominal pain.
How to use:
Infusion: Drink two cups of thyme tea a day very slowly. Find more info about the Thyme tea preparation.
Thyme compresses: Pour thyme infusion on a compress and apply it to the cramped area. Leave it on for 3-4 hours or for better results, leave overnight.
If you are experiencing cramping in the summer, there is no reason to worry. Cramps are more frequent at this time of year, which is because the heat affects the normal blood circulation that cause them.
You may also experience cramps when you swim a lot for a long time at an intense pace, due to significant efforts. The majority of them are “innocent“, i.e., there lurks a health problem, and you can get rid of them quickly.
However, if their presence persists for a long time, you should consult a specialist to investigate the causes that generate them.
Have you ever struggled with cramps? Were there any things that helped you? Share your stories with us below!
I wish for you to be always healthy.
* Share your thought and experience with us in the comments below, thank you!
Dimitra Nasiou lives in beautiful, sunny Volos, in Greece, and she is the creator and editor of TreatmentHerbs.com. Her greatest pleasure is helping people and she does just that, drawing upon the immerse resources that she has gathered over the years in her unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
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Learning to use herbs is a healing journey and a preventive way of living; nonetheless, herbs are not meant to take the place of your family doctor.
Herbs can be helpful allies in maintaining good health, but they can be powerful medications that should be treated with the same caution and respect as drugs, precisely, because herbs DO work.
Many herbs do have dangerous interactions when paired with prescription drugs; while others are contraindicated for individuals with certain health conditions.
The information contained herein is not presented with the intention of diagnosing, treating, curing, or preventing any disease. It is not to be used as medical advice and is offered only for use in maintaining and promoting health in cooperation with a physician.
Always check with your doctor first before beginning any health program.