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Muscle Cramps: Causes & Treatments

Person in athletic clothes holding back of leg

How to Prevent and Relieve Muscle Cramps

Leg pain waking you up at night? Foot cramps slowing you down? Although temporary, muscle cramps are painful and unpredictable occurrences that can offset your day and make moving around difficult. By understanding what causes muscle cramps and how to treat them with Doctor Hoy’s® topical pain relievers, you can better manage your pain and put a stop to aching muscles.

What is a muscle cramp?

Sometimes called a charley horse, muscle cramps happen when a muscle(s) suddenly and involuntarily contracts leading to a feeling of tightness and pain. You may find a hard lump of muscle tissue that’s tender to the touch where the cramp occurs.

Woman sitting up in bed holding her calf muscle

Muscle cramps can range from a mild pain to severe discomfort and can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Trying to use that muscle during and even after the cramp can be more difficult due to soreness or stiffness.

These spasms typically happen in the legs like your calves or thighs and the feet, hands, arms, and stomach. People of all ages and activity levels may experience muscle cramps. Thankfully, they usually go away on their own, but you should talk to your healthcare provider if you have frequent cramping that leads to weakness, severe pain, or swelling.

What causes muscle cramps?

The exact cause of muscle cramps is unknown, but most researchers believe a lack of blood flow, dehydration, and inadequate nutrition are common sources. You could also be more prone to sudden muscle pain if you are overweight, in poor physical shape, or have a current muscle injury. People with underlying medical conditions and nerve disorders are also at risk for increased cramping.

Other potential causes of muscle cramps include:

  • Exercising in intense heat
  • Losing fluids through sweat or not drinking enough water
  • A lack of important salt and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium
  • Not stretching and warming up your muscles before starting a workout 
  • Overworking your muscles
  • Holding the muscle in one position for too long
  • Pregnancy pain, as being pregnant can cause leg cramping
  • Losing muscle mass through aging, which puts more strain on your muscles

Man on running track stretching leg and foot in pain

Prevention Tips

The best way to get ahead of your pain is to learn how to prevent muscle cramps early. Whether you’re able to single out a cause for your muscle pain or not, you can still prevent most muscle cramps with proper hydration, regular stretching, and a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. Getting regular exercise along with avoiding foods that trigger spasms like caffeine and alcohol can also help.

Applying hot and cold therapy is a great way to prevent cramps and activate your muscles before an activity. Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel uses the cool-to-warm sensations of natural menthol and camphor to warm and prepare your muscles. By applying Doctor Hoy’s before and after exercise by hand or with our easy roll-on gel, you can prevent and relieve muscle soreness and cramps caused by fatigue.

Person using Doctor Hoy’s topical pain relief gel on knee

How to Stop Muscle Cramps Fast

Most muscle cramps get better on their own, but if you’re tired of playing with muscle pain or leg cramps ruining your sleep, try these simple treatments for muscle cramps:


Once the cramp goes away, gently stretch the affected muscle group and hold the muscle in the stretched position. You should feel the pain and stiffness slowly dissipate as you lengthen the cramping muscle. Try daily yoga for pain relief to stretch and strengthen your muscles through slow, steady movement. This can help relax your mind and your body, both relieving and preventing muscle pain.

Woman stretching leg on yoga mat outside

Topical Muscle Pain Relief

Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel contains menthol, which is known to alleviate muscle cramp pain by enlarging blood vessels and improving blood flow so that pain relieving ingredients can penetrate deep for fast, effective relief. Our encapsulated menthol works on a time release delivery system, giving you more relief for longer.

Additionally, Arnica Boost Recovery Cream provides lasting relief for nerve pain, muscle soreness and spasms. With the power of natural arnica, this topical cream promotes fast muscle recovery by stimulating circulation and reducing inflammation. For a comprehensive topical treatment for muscle pain, combine Pain Relief Gel with Arnica Boost for the benefits of both.

Person using Arnica Boost topical pain relief cream on armMan holding ankle while standing next to topical pain relief cream

Hot/Cold Therapy

Heating pads are common when treating muscle cramps from leg pain to period pain. First, you can use an ice pack on the cramping muscle to relieve discomfort and help it relax. Then, apply a heating pad or hot compress to encourage blood flow to the area, alleviating pain and soothing the muscle.

Person using hot/cold compress on knee

Relieve Muscle Pain with Doctor Hoy’s

Why wait for muscle cramp relief when you have Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel and Arnica Boost Recovery Cream? The best topical muscle pain relievers, Doctor Hoy’s topicals are safe, clean, and effective with natural ingredients that outperform other topical brands. You and your family can manage muscle cramps with ease with Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel and Arnica Boost Recovery Cream.


Mayo Clinic. (2019). Muscle cramp - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic.

Muscle Cramps. (2019.). Cleveland Clinic.

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