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Arthritis, joint, bone & muscle

Muscle cramps

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Cramps can affect any muscle in the body, but are most commonly experienced in the calves and feet.


  • A sudden, involuntary, painful spasm (or tightening) of a muscle.
  • Muscle twitching.
  • Cramps generally resolve by themselves after a few moments.
  • In some cases, cramps may be indicative of underlying disease. Consult your doctor if you experience cramps frequently, if your symptoms are severe, or if the cramps take longer than a few minutes to disappear.


Although the reason that cramps occur is not fully understood, a number of risk factors have been identified. These include:

  • Imbalance of the minerals (electrolytes) involved in muscle contraction and relaxation, including magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium. This may occur due to dietary inadequacy, but may also be a consequence of the fluid losses that occur during vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration and excessive sweating. 
  • Being in poor physical health.
  • Having tight or inflexible muscles, or poor muscle tone.
  • Muscle injury or fatigue.
  • Wearing high-heeled shoes for long periods of time.

Natural therapies

  • Magnesium helps all the muscles of the body to function optimally  and to contract in a normal, healthy way. It is also important for exercise performance . Taking a magnesium supplement* may help prevent muscular cramps and spasms and aid in the management of leg cramps that occur during the night.
*Magnesium may only be of assistance when dietary intake is inadequate

Diet and lifestyle

  • During a cramp, lengthen the muscle by gently stretching it. Follow this by rubbing or massaging the affected muscle, but again, be gentle. Apply an ice pack if necessary.
  • Stretching before and after exercise is important. Yoga classes are a great way to improve your flexibility and stretch out your muscles, and regular massage can aid muscle relaxation.
  • Make sure you warm up and cool down before you exercise.
  • Maintain adequate fluid intake. Aim for at least two litres of water every day, with additional water before, during and after exercise sessions.
  • If you’re prone to excessive perspiration, or if you train for extended periods or in hot temperatures, it may be appropriate to take an electrolyte replacement drink to rehydrate the body and quickly replace minerals lost in the sweat.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that contains large quantities and a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid wearing high heels or shoes that don’t fit comfortably.

Important notes

  • Seek medical advice if you experience frequent, severe, or extended cramping, or if you are concerned that your prescribed medicine may be causing or contributing to your cramps. You may need to switch to a different medication.
  • If you experience cramping pain in the chest that radiates to the shoulder, arm or neck, it’s possible you are having a heart attack. Call for an ambulance immediately, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Anonymous 19 Aug 2015
Hi Janice, I’m Danielle, one of the Blackmores Naturopaths. This sounds very painful and I would recommend that you consult your doctor if these symptoms continue. This will be helpful to identify the cause of these symptoms. You can also call the Blackmores Naturopathic Advisory Service on 1800 803 760 and discuss this condition with one of the Naturopaths. This may help to work out the most appropriate supplement such as either magnesium and/or calcium to relieve muscular symptoms, or grape seed that may help with circulation and vein health. We can also check medicine interactions for you. The Blackmores Naturopaths can be reached on 1800 803 760 8:30 – 5:30pm AEST or email I hope to hear from you soon, thanks , Danielle.
I am having recurrent severe muscle spasm/cramp in my upper leg, running from above my knee up to my inner thigh. They are extremely painful, often causing me to sweat, and become dizzy and nauseous. I get them mainly at night, however I have had them at the theatre and when sitting in a confined space. I take thyroxine, for over 30 years, but otherwise only multivitamins. I do have varicous vains in both my legs which ache from time to time. What do you recommend I do.
Anonymous 17 Nov 2014
Hello Paul,

Thank you for your post. It might be best for you to ask this question to your Eye Doctor for his expertise on this matter, however if you have further Naturopathic related questions, please contact the Blackmores Naturopaths on 1800 803 760 or via email on
All the best, Gina (Blackmores naturopath)

You say to wear glasses with amber of yellow tint. My transitional lenses have more of a charcoal tint. Would changing that be beneficial for AMD??
Anonymous 10 Nov 2014
Hi Linda, whilst magnesium supplementation can often be useful for reducing cramps, it would be wise to discuss your particular case with a healthcare professional in person. They could then look at medications and any other details which may be relevant to your symptoms. Please feel free to call the Blackmores Advisory service on 1800 803 760 to discuss your possible options with a Blackmores naturopath. All the best, Leanne (a Blackmores naturopath)
I am taking MacuVision Plus for the past 10 months and have always had leg cramps at night - alleviated with hot water bottle and bed socks but recently have developed cramps in my thighs and also when moving incorrectly in my abdomen. I take Karvezide BP meds 300mg daily. Should I take magnesium supplements?
Anonymous 26 Sep 2014
Hi Dan, this sounds quite difficult; I’d recommend that you see a healthcare professional such as a physiotherapist, osteopath or acupuncturist. Supplementation magnesium may help to support the muscle spasm such as the Blackmores Magnesium Powder. For further advice please contact Blackmores Naturopathic Advisory Service on 1800 803 760. Thanks, Danielle (Blackmores Naturopath).