The Cause of Cramps

Cramps are annoying but also fairly common. Read on for tips on how to prevent and treat them.

Have you ever woken suddenly in the night to a painful muscle cramp? Muscle cramps can occur at any time of day, but the night time ones are by far the most annoying!
So what actually causes them?

Muscle cramps occur when muscles spasm uncontrollably. Any muscle can be affected, but cramps in the calf and foot muscles are very common.

While the exact cause of muscle cramps is unknown, there are a few factors that can increase your risk. These include:

  • Dehydration

  • Being unfit

  • A poor diet

  • Muscle injury or fatigue

  • Physical overexertion.

You could also be low in some electrolytes and minerals that help your muscles and nerves function such as potassium, sodium and magnesium. If you want to top up, good sources of potassium include bananas and avocados, leafy greens like kale and spinach and dairy products including milk and yoghurt. Leafy greens are also a great source of magnesium, along with lentils, chickpeas and nuts.

If you have persistent problems, or your cramps are starting to impact your way of life, it’s probably time to head to your local GP for a check up.

James Watts