Here is a very informative article from NPR on muscle cramps, particularly in the over 65 population. If you follow the link at the end of this excerpt, you’ll find home remedy advice from the physician expert.
Like our policy at OHOM, the good doctor encourages people to eat beneficial foods, drink plenty of fluids and do daily stretching exercises.
We agree with his recommendation and supplement this advice with inexpensive nutritional supplements, a herbal formula for cramps and spasms and teach simple stretching techniques along with useful acupressure point you can use at home.
If you’re over 65, you probably know what a “charley horse” is. You may have gotten them during strenuous exercise as a younger person. But in older age, muscle cramps can be unlike any you’ve ever had before. That’s because like so many other things in our bodies, our muscles and nerves wear out and function less effectively as we age.
“A cramp is a sudden painful contraction of a muscle that becomes rock hard,” says Dr. Robert Miller, a neurologist who specializes in muscle cramps at the California Pacific Medical Center and teaches at University of California, San Francisco. “The muscle goes into a spasm and squeezes all the little nerve endings inside the muscle, and creates pain, and definitely … gets your attention until you do something about it.”
Uncontrollable Muscle Spasms
For Ken Holladay, 71, his muscle cramps started off mild and irregular. At first, he got them once every few weeks, but then they started to get more frequent. Eventually, they occurred every single night — often twice, between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. It was a painful version of a charley horse, only it was in his feet and toes: “The big toe was at 90 degrees to the bottom of the foot; put your foot on the floor, and this big toe would be pointing straight up toward the ceiling; and I don’t believe you can voluntarily pull a big toe that high.”
But as it turns out, your muscles can, all on their own. Holladay says that one time his toe actually curled down, “and I leapt out of bed to try and get rid of the pain and landed on that toe and broke the toe, broke the bone underneath that big toe, broke the toenail off.” It was terrible, he says.