Having leg cramps at night while you sleep is very uncomfortable and unpleasant feeling, but also it is a sign that your body lacks physical activity during the day.
Leg cramps can affect anyone, but in most cases it affects people above 50. People that experience these cramps usually they feel them in the calf, but also they can occur in the feet and thighs. The pain of leg cramp can last for few seconds, but in some cases it could last for several minutes. Even after the leg cramp ends you can feel muscle pain for the rest of the night.
You should know that leg cramps at night are very different from restless leg syndrome (RLS) that some people experience. Restless leg syndrome and leg cramps usually occur during night which is the only common thing for these two conditions.
Here are the main differences between leg cramps and RLS:
- Leg cramps cause pain whereas RLS doesn’t
- RLS provides a feeling of discomfort and crawling in the legs
- Leg cramps prevent movement of the leg, whereas RLS leads to desire to move the legs
- RLS can be relieved by moving the leg, whereas leg cramps require stretching in order to relieve
Here are the main causes for leg cramps at night
There is not clear answer in regards to the causes for leg cramps, but some of the risk factors are the following:
- Continues inadequate sitting
- Sitting for longer period of time
- Working on concrete floors for longer period of time, as well as standing for long period of time
- Over-exertion of the muscles on the legs
In fact there are some medical conditions that could lead to leg cramps. Some of these conditions are the following:
- Alcohol abuse and addiction
- Endocrine disorders
- Neuromuscular conditions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Diuretics, beta agonists, statins
- Structural conditions
Here are some treatments and preventions that you could do:
You will need to find the root cause for leg cramps. This means that if it occurs due to dehydration you will need to increase the water consumption during the day.
These are some of the effective treatments and preventives that you could do in order to prevent leg cramps at night:
- Consume enough potassium and magnesium because it could be main reason for leg cramps
- You will need to do water exercises in order to strengthen the muscles
- Make sure that you always wear comfortable shoes
- Take warm and unwinding bath before you rest
- Try to do some stretching exercises before going to bed
- Put heating pad on the affected location
- Feel free to try acupuncture to relieve the muscles
- Use horse chestnut in order to improve blood circulation
Here is what to do when cramps occurs:
Leg cramps might give you a feeling of being paralyzed throughout the night. Due to this reason you should know what to do in such situations in order to relieve the discomfort.
- You will need to rest on the floor with your legs in front of you. Flex the feet at the ankles and point with your toes towards the knees. Pull the feet with your hands in order to stretch the muscles as much as you can.
- You should massage the affected area until you feel relieve
- You should consume 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard when you experience leg cramp
- Immediately after the cramp you should stand up and walk for some time in order to relieve it. This way you will allow more blood to circulate in the legs thus relieving the discomfort.
- You will need sheets and blankets that are not too tight in order to prevent leg cramps.