Q. I keep getting cramps in my legs – what should I do?

A. Leg cramps are very common and usually harmless. They can happen at any time, but most people have them at night or when resting.

Leg cramps happen when a muscle suddenly shortens and becomes tight (spasms). They can be very painful and make it hard for you to move. The cramps can last from a few seconds to 10 minutes.

They can affect the:

• calf muscle, below the knee at the back of the leg

• muscles in the feet or the thighs (less often)

After the cramp has stopped, the muscle might feel tender for up to 24 hours.

Most cramps go away without you doing anything, but stretching and massaging the muscle can help to ease the pain.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen will not help when cramp is happening as they take too long to work. They can help to ease muscle tenderness afterwards.

Regular calf-stretching exercises might not completely prevent cramps, but may help to reduce them.

You need to ask for an appointment with your GP or Nurse Practitioner if you have cramps and they last longer than 10 minutes as they may indicate other underlying problems.

Cramps can sometimes be caused by: Ageing. Too much exercise, pregnancy or not drinking enough.

Stretching exercises should help your cramps. Search online on patient.info and see if these help. If they don’t you may need to seek further treatment from your GP.

Q. I’ve got blocked ears – please help?

A. You probably have a build up of ear wax. Earwax normally just falls out on its own but if it's blocking your ears, a pharmacist can help.

Whatever you do - do not use your fingers or any objects like cotton buds to remove earwax. This will push it in and make it worse.

A pharmacist will recommend putting 2-3 drops of olive or almond oil in your ear twice a day for a few days.

Over two weeks lumps of earwax should fall out of your ear, especially at night when you're lying down. There's no evidence that ear candles or ear vacuums get rid of earwax.

The pharmacist might recommend chemical drops to dissolve the earwax. The earwax should fall out on its own or dissolve after about a week.

Do not use drops if you have a hole in your eardrum (a perforated eardrum).

You can't prevent earwax. It's there to protect your ears from dirt and germs.

But you can keep using eardrops to soften the wax. This will help it fall out on its own and should prevent blocked ears.

You might have earwax build-up because:

• you just have more wax in your ears – some people do naturally

• you have hairy or narrow canals (the tubes that link the eardrum and outer ear)

• of your age – wax gets harder and more difficult to fall out

• of hearing aids, earplugs and other things you put in your ear – these can push the wax further in