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Muscle Cramps - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

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A muscle cramp is defined as an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax. Cramps may be caused by an inadequate blood supply to the muscle such as in after eating or after vigorous exercise that produces the waste product lactic acid and results in a loss of fluids and electrolytes.

Emotionally cramps are a gripping, a fear of letting go. Muscle cramps can be due to dehydration (i.e. not drinking enough), elimination of body salts(potassium, Calcium, magnesium), poor circulation (i.e. not enough oxygen getting to the muscles), or nerve supply problems (maybe from the back) and these are just some of the reasons.

The most commonly affected muscle groups are:
• Back of lower leg/calf, back of thigh, front of thigh.
• Cramps in the feet, hands, arms, abdomen, and along the rib cage are also very common.

Athletes are more likely to get cramps in the preseason when the body is not conditioned and therefore more subject to fatigue. Cramps often develop near the end of intense or prolonged exercise, or 4-6 hours later.

Older people are more susceptible to muscle cramps due to normal muscle loss (atrophy) that begins in the mid-40s and accelerates with inactivity. As you age, your muscles cannot work as hard or as quickly as they used to.

The body also loses some of its sense of thirst and its ability to sense and respond to changes in temperature.
• Stop doing whatever activity triggered the cramp.
• Gently stretch and massage the cramping muscle, holding it in stretched position until the cramp stops.
• Apply heat to tense/tight muscles, or cold to sore/tender muscles
• Always stretch and warm up slowly before exercise.

Magnesium is present in many foods (greens, grains, meat and fish, bananas, apricots, nuts, and soybeans)

Look for herbs to assist circulation, relaxing muscles and ease the cramps.

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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