Cramps are a very common complaint, especially in
middle–aged and older people. They often occur at night or when a person is
resting and can be extremely painful. This can lead to disturbed sleep and
The most commonly affected muscles are those at the back
of the calves, but both the foot and the
thigh muscles may also be involved.
Usually it is only one foot or calf which is affected at a time. The
cramp may last only a minute or two but the muscle may be tender for a few days
There can be many
reasons for cramps but one common cause is that the muscle does not receive
enough blood. This could be because of diseased arteries or when excessive heat
or exercise has caused sweating and salt is depleted from the body. Excessive alcohol can also sometimes cause
It now seems that the best way to treat cramps is without
drugs. For many years quinine was
prescribed but it is not usually advised these days because of the possibility
of side effects. Stretching and massaging the affected muscle can be most
effective once a cramp occurs.
It is thought that
stretching the calf muscle during the day for even just a few minutes and
especially before going to bed, may stop cramps occurring. If in doing so, you can work the calf muscle
enough to increase the blood flow to the muscle, there is a good chance you
will sleep the night undisturbed.
One easy way to stretch the calf muscles and to boost
circulation is by using an AIRCYCLE exerciser while sitting reading, watching
TV or having coffee. Many people have had success in reducing their cramps with
this simple-to-use exerciser.
One day a woman
phoned to say she had had her Aircycle only two days and had had two nights’ undisturbed
sleep! Surprisingly, within five minutes
of that call, an email came through from a person who suffered from restless
legs saying exactly the same thing. “I’ve had my Aircycle only two days and had
two nights’ undisturbed sleep.”
The AIRCYCLE exerciser is a soft, inflatable which helps
to reduce swollen ankles, joint pain and
stiffness and strengthen leg muscles to enable people to remain mobile. It is
useful for convalescent patients, travellers and office workers – anyone who
sits for long periods and requires gentle exercise. It costs $30 and is now available in pharmacies. For more
information or to order direct visit or
phone 04 569 5013.