Leg Cramps at Night

July 11, 20130 Comments

Leg cramps are nothing but painful contraction of leg muscles suddenly at night. It may last only for few seconds in many people and for some it may continue for several minutes. It is also described as spasms of muscles due to sudden tightening. Often it occurs on the thigh muscle or on the calf muscle.

Leg Cramps at Night Causes :

Exact factor that triggers leg cramps at night are not known. It can be due to overuse of muscles like strenuous exercising or walking. It can also be due to injury on the leg. Cramps can occur due to deficiency of vitamins or minerals like calcium or magnesium for pregnant women.

Leg cramps are common when a person stays in cold temperature for extended hours. Certain medical issues like kidney disease, thyroid problem, peripheral arterial disease and multiple sclerosis can cause leg cramps. Keeping the legs in the same position may put pressure on the muscles causing sudden contraction. Sitting or standing on uneven surface for long time can cause this problem. Malnutrition can trigger leg cramps at night.

Edema or accumulation of fluid in the body may be a factor for leg cramps. Prolonged use of medications for hypertension, taking antipsychotic drugs, birth control pills or diuretics can cause tightening of leg muscles leading to cramps.

Often, it occurs when you are asleep. You have more chance for getting leg cramps when you grow old. Other medical conditions that may cause leg cramps are diabetes, cirrhosis, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism and kidney failure. It can also occur due to Parkinson’s syndrome, nerve damage, muscle fatigue, dehydration due to diarrhea.

Leg Cramps at Night

Symptoms :

It will be sudden and instant tightening of muscles of the leg with sharp intense pain. This feeling will last only for few seconds in many people and it will subside shortly. The pain will be there on the affected leg for few minutes.

Leg Cramps at Night Treatment :

Simple stretching exercises will keep the muscles in good condition. You can gently massage the thigh muscles with your fingers to get relief from pain. Pain killers like ibuprofen is taken for providing tenderness on the muscles if the cramp lasts for several minutes. If you are getting leg cramps at night regularly you can visit your doctor for knowing the reason. It can be due to intake of certain medications and hence you need to tell him about the list of drugs you are using.

For many people, stretching exercise is highly effective in reducing the intensity of leg cramps. Do stretching exercise regularly before going to bed for getting immediate relief from leg cramps. You need to stand at 30-45 degrees from the wall. Slowly keep the soles of your feet on the floor, by bending forward. Now lean against the wall in the same position, till the calf muscles are stretching. Repeat this exercise 3-4 times daily. You can notice some improvement now and you will not attack of cramps as before. In case you are getting cramps daily, you can use quinine for getting relief, but it is not good to use it regularly.

Leg Cramps at Night

Home Remedies :

Gently stretch the muscles before going to bed for some time. Taking warm shower before bedtime can help to keep your muscles relaxed. You can use heating pad on the muscles to avoid getting leg cramps. Apply ice pack on the calf muscles regularly to improve blood flow. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You can also try Gatorade, sports drink to prevent leg cramps.

Eat healthy foods that contain lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Go for brisk walk daily for 20-30 minutes which helps to keep your muscles healthy. After consulting your doctor, you can take one multivitamin daily.

Prevention :

You cannot prevent getting leg cramps, but you can try these methods for safety. Make sure that your calf muscles are in good position when you are asleep. You can use a pillow under your feet so that your foot is slightly raised when you are lying on the back. Try to hang your feet loosely when you are sleeping at the end of your bed.

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