There isn’t a person that has not experienced a leg cramp which usually appears during the night. Some of them are so strong that can wake you up. The main reason for their appearance is lack of activity during the day. At night they usually appear on the leg calf and thighs causing great pain and unpleasant feeling. The problem is that you can never predict how long they will last, some go away just in seconds and some last for a longer period of time like whole night or even the next day. It affects both genders, male and female, and usually occurs to people over the age of 50, but it can also appear to the younger population.
There is another syndrome called restless leg syndrome (RLS) which can appear during sleeping time. However, these are two different conditions: RLS is more like a crawling feeling in your legs or pain, and if you move the leg when having RLS you will feel relief which is not the case with the nocturnal leg cramps. Likewise, RLS does not cause pain or cramping.
There is still no clear reason why nocturnal cramps occur, however, there are some medical conditions that can trigger this appearance or some other potential risk factors. Here below are some of them:
- Improper sitting
- Working or standing on concrete ground
- Sitting for longer period of time
- Statins, diuretics, beta agonists
- Parkinson’s disease
- Endocrine conditions such as diabetes
- Neuromuscular conditions
- Structural disorders like flat feet
- Over-exertion of the muscles in the leg
Cramps can really cause excruciating pain and unpleasant feeling. Once you experience one you feel like you are becoming paralyzed.
However, you can try the following technique which will help you in dealing cramps. Sit on the floor and extend both legs. Next, flex your feet at the ankles and point your toes towards your knees. Then, stand up and walk around or you can gently massage the impacted area. This technique guarantees you an immediate relief.