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Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla
Raksha Ayurvedalaya: The Family Wellness Center

Muscle Cramps and Ayurvedic Treatment

A muscle cramp is an uncontrolled contraction of the muscle and produces intense pain. Muscle cramps most often occur in the calf or foot. They can also develop in other areas of the body. Muscle cramps usually happen while lying in bed or playing sports or exercising. Swimming, more than other sports, causes leg cramps in athletes during exercise. Cramps are the result of a muscle repeating the same motion too many times, and the mechanism for telling a contracted muscle to relax simply cramps out. The cause, in short, is muscle fatigue. Overuse, injury, muscle strain, or staying in the same position for a long time can produce cramping. Pointing the toes sharply can instantly cause cramping.

Nighttime calf cramps usually strike a person when in bed. It is possible that the day’s activities such as a tough workout, wearing high heels, or taking some drugs (diuretics) will spark the cramp. Diabetes, alcoholism, chronic kidney disease, Buerger’s disease, all of which can cause damage of peripheral nerves and thereby cause muscle cramps.

Cramps during exercise can be prompted by a number of factors. Dehydration or sweating too much can create an imbalance in electrolytes (potassium and sodium) in the blood. Inadequate warm-up before engaging in strenuous physical activity, over-exertion, or muscle fatigue are common causes as well.

Ayurvedic term for muscle cramp is khalli vaata. Vyaana vaata, a biological force that regulates the functions of voluntary muscles, is vitiated in this condition. When the pain is confined to calf muscles of the leg, then the condition is called pindikodveshtana. If any metabolic waste, that normally should be eliminated from the body, does not get out, and circulates inside the body, it is likely to get deposited between nerve-endings and the muscle tissue. This, in Ayurvedic terminology is known as aama, which is responsible for the causation for cramps.


  • For prevention of leg cramps, there is gentle stretching exercise that is worth trying. Stand facing a wall from a distance of one pace, and place your hands flat against it. Keeping your legs straight and your heels on the floor, lean slowly forward until the muscles in your calves feel stretched, but are not painful. Hold the stretch for ten seconds, straighten up and relax for five seconds, then stretch again. Repeat this exercise three times a day. Some people are helped by lying on their backs and raising their feet in the air.
  • Stay hydrated—drink plenty of water.
  • Drink lemon-water with a pinch of salt, if the cramp attacks during a workout.
  • Do stretching exercises before and after workouts. Do not over-fatigue muscles.
  • Do not point your toes while stretching or sleeping. Try increasing your intake of minerals, especially, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, in the most absorbable form you can. Eat a banana before bed or patatoes either in cooked or baked form. Drink orange juice.
  • Wear loose-fitting warm socks to bed.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages or chocolates after 4 p.m. A cup of warm milk before bed actually supplies you with more nutrients that enhance slumber.
  • Establish a restful ritual—a bath, may be incense or candles, soft music, low lights—an hour before bedtime. Massage with ordinary til oil before taking daily bath. Make your mattress and bed coverings as comfortable as possible.
  • Get checked for circulatory problems in the legs. Have your pulses examined, and talk to your physician about metabolic and electrolyte disturbance.

If you have a muscle cramp all of a sudden and do not know what to do, then for relief, try any of the following:

  • Stretch the muscle by straightening the legs and flex your feet upward.
  • Massage the muscle with Mahanarayana taila or Praharini taila to relax it. In winter season, these oils should be made warm and then applied for massage.
  • Apply a cold pack to reduce the blood flow and relax the muscle.
  • Take a hot bath or use a heating pad for relief.

Ayurvedic Remedies

Sinhanaada guggulu is a good drug for the treatment of this condition. This drug has mild laxative effect and thus can be taken in constipated condition that is usually associated with muscle cramps. The dose is two tablets twice a day followed by a glass of warm milk or lukewarm water.

Prataapa lankeswara rasa, Lakshmivilaas rasa are some of the potent Ayurvedic medicines that are usually prescribed in stubborn conditions.


As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.


Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla, M.D. (Ayurveda)
Plot No. 13, H.No: 16-2-67/13,
Ramamurthy Nagar (CBCID Colony),
Landmark: Kukatpally Area, Metro Train Pillar No. MYP 29.
PIN - 500 085. Telangana State


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