20% off £30 Vitamins & Supplements

000000s
Code:VITS20
 

20% off £30 Vitamins & Supplements

000000s

Code:VITS20

Buy 1 Get 1 Half PriceSummer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceOnline Only up to 50% offOutletBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBetter than 1/2 price2 for £18 Mix & Match25% off1/2 Price3 for 2 Mix & MatchShort DatedVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubJoints, Aches & PainsGut HealthImmunityChildren's HealthEnergyHealthy HeartLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietyWeight ManagementExercise & RecoveryVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPDigestive EnzymesSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionCholesterolAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesRescue RemedyAshwagandhaMilk ThistleGinseng & GuaranaHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsCBD Homeopathic Buy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceOnline Only up to 50% offHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayH&B ExpertDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubImmunityExercise & RecoveryGut HealthEnergyJoints, Aches & PainsWeight ManagementDental HealthFood & Drink Shop AllDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyNut ButtersJams & ChutneysSpreadsPateSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesNatural Energy DrinksKombuchaJuicesSoft DrinksWaterProtein ShakesAlcohol Free DrinksTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & RelaxationDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsCrisps & ChipsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsVegan FoodCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceOnline Only up to 50% offHolland & BarrettNaturyaGrenadeHeath & HeatherPukkaNakdMeridianTwiningsBionaHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeWheat FreeEgg FreeMilk FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeFish FreeMustard FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubExercise & RecoveryEnergyWeight ManagementLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietySports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinWhey ProteinClear ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneElectrolytesEnergy GelsSports CollagenPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutCaffeine-free-pre-workoutAmino Energy PowdersBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price25% offOptimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNGrenadeApplied NutritionPhDHuelSiSFoodspringYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreePalm Oil FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubSkin Health - by skin concernDental HealthWomen's Health - Cycles & MenstruationSexual HealthWomen's Health - PregnancyJoints, Aches & PainsChildren's HealthExercise & RecoveryLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietyNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautySun CareShop all Sun CareSun Lotion SPFMineral Sun CareFace SPFAfter SunHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceOnline Only up to 50% offDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandMiaromaSukinQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubExercise & RecoveryWeight ManagementEnergyHealthy HeartWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceOnline Only up to 50% offGrenadeOptimum NutritionHolland & BarrettPhDUSNPulsinEat WaterNew NordicSlimExpertApplied NutritionGluten FreeSugar FreeDairy FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessGut HealthSkin Health - by skin concernEnergyWomen's Health - Menopause & PerimenopauseExercise & RecoveryWomen's Health - Hormonal HealthJoints, Aches & PainsImmunitySleep & RelaxationLow Mood & DepressionJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceOnline Only up to 50% offHolland & BarrettDr OrganicNaturtintVitabioticsSolgarOptimum NutritionWeledaNew NordicEthiqueWildDairy FreeGluten FreeAlcohol FreeSugar FreeParaben FreeParfum FreeSLS FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeSesame Seed FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseSkincareJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsArticlesAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

How to get rid of cramps

Female hiker in woodland background. Wearing yellow coat and blue beanie hat
Cramps can range from mild and annoying, to painful and disruptive. Discover what exactly cramps are, who might get them and what you can do about them.

Cramps can range from mild and annoying, to painful and disruptive. Discover what exactly cramps are, who might get them and what you can do about them.

What are cramps?

A cramp is a sudden, sharp sensation which can seem to strike our muscles out of nowhere. The pain we feel is caused by the muscle contracting and releasing sharply.

This is also known as a spasm - an involuntary motion which we don’t have control over as it’s happening. The affected muscle will feel hard to touch as it cramps and might feel ‘locked’ in position. Usually, cramps only last a short time – less than 15 minutes and often just for a few seconds.

Cramps can technically occur in any muscle group. However, there are certain muscle groups where cramps are most common.

These include the legs, particularly the calves. Cramps can also occur in the hands, feet and neck.

The muscles of the abdomen are also prone to cramps, particularly in women during the menstrual cycle.

What causes cramps?

Cramps could have various different causes. The most common are:

  • Exercising – simply using your muscles can cause them to cramp. Muscle strain and over-use of a particular muscle group are common side-effects of working out and playing sports. Further, cramps are common if you’re not usually very active and participate in a strenuous activity such as running.
  • Imbalance – a mineral imbalance might result in cramps, for instance low levels of potassium or magnesium in the body, although more research is needed.1
  • Dehydration – loss of fluid and sodium, such as during exercise, is thought to make you susceptible to muscle cramps due to the resulting electrolyte imbalance. This is a theory, and again, more research is needed.2
  • Medication – certain medications, such as diuretics (water tablets), statins and beta-blockers, are known to increase the occurrence of muscle cramps.3
  • Poor circulation - not getting enough blood flow to a limb can cause the muscles in it to cramp.
  • The menstrual cycle – period cramps are extremely common with nearly all women experiencing them at some time. They occur in the abdomen or lower back and are caused by the contracting of the womb in order to shed the womb’s lining.
  • Laxatives – taking ‘stimulant’ laxatives cause the intestinal walls to contract and relax, which helps stimulate a bowel movement but can cause discomfort in your tummy area in the process.

What can help get rid of cramps?

What can help get rid of cramps?

There are a few things you can try to seek relief from the discomfort of cramps.

Stretching

Stretching has benefits for everyone, regardless of their level of activity.

Since the legs are most prone to cramping, concentrate on warming up these major muscle groups first. You can perform these stretches before exercise, or while you’re actively experiencing a leg cramp.

Bear in mind you’re more likely to get cramps from exercise if you didn’t stretch your muscles beforehand.

Calf & hamstring stretch

  1. From a standing position, and with your right heel on the floor, pull your toes towards you and hold for a few seconds.

  2. You should feel a gentle pull at the back of your calf.

  3. Raising the leg off the floor a few inches will also stretch your hamstring (along the back of your thigh).

  4. Repeat with the left leg.

Quadricep stretch

  1. To stretch the front of your thigh (the quadricep muscle), stand up straight and hold your right foot with your right hand against the back of your right thigh (or as near as you can comfortably hold it).

  2. Hold for a few seconds and repeat with the left leg.

If these moves feel painful or tender, that’s a sign you need to take it slow and spend more time performing gentle stretches before doing anything more strenuous.

If a leg cramp strikes in the night, try lying flat on your back and slowly pulling your toes back so your heels are pressing into the mattress and your toes are pointing at the ceiling.

Repeat a few times.

Then pull your knees towards your chest and hold for a few moments. This will give the cramping muscles a gentle stretch and get blood flowing to the muscle groups in the legs.

Massage

A simple self-massage can provide relief for most cramps and muscle spasms. For cramps in the calf area, sit on a chair with the affected leg resting on another chair, coffee table or something of a similar height.

Starting at your heel and using long strokes, sweep your hand up the back of your calf, pressing into the calf muscle with your thumbs using medium pressure.

If the muscle is actively spasming and feels hard to touch, rest the area until the spasm has subsided slightly before massaging.

Heat

Heat

Sometimes cramps can be eased by the application of heat. A heating pad such as a microwaveable rice bag (not too hot) can be placed on the cramp to relax tensed muscles.

Hydration

As cramps have been linked to dehydration, staying hydrated may help to avoid them especially when exercising. Six to eight glasses (about 1.2 litres) per day is what the NHS recommends.4

Diet

Although scientists aren’t certain about the connection between diet and the likelihood of muscle cramps, they have been linked to low levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Therefore, a diet rich in these minerals might help defend you against them.

This means eating a balanced diet including fruit and vegetables, legumes, avocados, nuts, and whole grains.

Sources

1. https://www.verywellfit.com/matcha-what-should-i-know-about-it-89227
2. https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/how-much-matcha-per-daya-is-safe-to-drink
3. https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/221481/how-to-use-matcha-green-tea-powder/
4. https://www.bulknationusa.com/how-to-use-matcha-powder-in-everyday-foods/
5. https://www.verywellfit.com/matcha-what-should-i-know-about-it-89227
 

Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
 
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.