A cramp in the body muscles is a sudden contraction of a single muscle or a group of muscles. It is an involuntary contraction and can occur anywhere in the body but is more commonly found in the calf muscles, abdominal muscles and fingers of both hands and feet. It is usually very painful and can occur repeatedly. At times the cramp disappears automatically in less than a minute but at times it lasts for a long time. It is said that cramps are an old age phenomenon but it is not true; it can occur even in the young.
The exact cause of cramps is not known but I have generally found it occurring in dry-cold constitutions where the flexibility of muscles and hamstrings etcetera has dropped considerably below normal and thus partially losing the ability to take the stress. That is why some times the cramps occur during exercise. This condition is different to commonly understood dehydration.
In certain cases, crampy pain in the calf muscles occurs when a person lies down to sleep at tight. The pain is severe enough to prevent the sleep. In most of such cases, pressing the legs gives temporary relief.
Cramps are not difficult to treat. There are many homeopathic medicine used for different conditions of cramps. Choice of medicine depends on location of the cramp coupled with other symptoms. Some of the commonly used homeopathic medicines are Causticum, Colocythis, Cuprum Metallicum, Dioscorea Villosa, Gelsemium, Magnesium Phosphorica.
In many cases, the cramp disappears just with one dose of the medicine but recurring cramps call for regular use of medicine for some time along with some changes in the diet.
All the acidic foods and drinks, spicy food and excessive use of tea tend to dry up the constitution. Such food and drinks do not cause the cramps but once the muscles start losing flexibility due to dryness, cramps can begin to appear. This calls for maintenance of balance in the diet is important. In the old age, when the constitution naturally tends to dry up reducing the flexibility of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and also the blood vessels, the chances of occurrence of cramps increases many folds. Therefore, the elderly people should be careful while lifting heavier stuff etcetera or while carrying out exercise.