There is almost no adult who has not had leg cramps. They are usually temporary and don’t reappear regularly. But there is a good chance that you may be suffering from nocturnal leg cramps. These types of cramps appear when you are sleeping at night.
Find out what causes these crippling and painful cramps and how you can treat them naturally!
Nocturnal leg cramps force you to wake up in your sleep. If you spend long hours sitting or if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are more prone to suffer from it.
They are mostly localized on the calves, but can also appear on the feet and thighs. And the crippling pain can occur for anything as short as a few seconds or for many minutes. Most often the muscles become sore, making it difficult to sleep even after it has passed. In rare cases, the soreness can remain for the rest of the day.
Adults above 50 are the common ‘victims’, but it can equally affect both the sexes.
Restless Leg Syndrome Vs Nocturnal Leg Cramps
Restless leg syndrome is also a problem of the leg that appears when you are sleeping. But the symptoms are different from that of nocturnal leg cramps.
– You don’t feel cramps or pain with restless leg syndrome like in nocturnal leg cramps
– Restless leg syndrome gives you discomfort and a sensation of crawling in the legs.
– The ‘syndrome’ forces you to move your legs, but the cramps can lock movement.
– Proper movement of the legs can give relief from the ‘syndrome’, but it is required to stretch your legs if you want to get rid of the cramps.
Understanding the Causes Behind the Leg Cramps
Medical science has not been able to determine the primary cause behind these types of leg cramps. But the following risks and causes have been associated most often with it:
- If you are sitting for long hours
- If you stand and work on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt
- If you apply excess force using your leg muscles
- If you sit the wrong way
There are many health conditions that can also work as the causes or risk factors. these include pregnancy, neuromuscular problems, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine problems (diabetes), and structural problems (flat feet). Even dehydration, excess alcohol, and consumption of substances like diuretics, beta agonists and statins can increase risks.
Curing/Preventing Leg Cramps
You can cure your leg cramps if you know what is causing it. If you are dehydrated, make sure to drink more fluids. Similarly, other causes/risk factors require appropriate treatment.
– Improve your blood circulation in the legs by taking horse chestnut.
– If the leg muscles have become stiff, relax them with warm bath at night.
– Acupuncture is a great cure. It helps loosen and relax the muscles.
– You could also relax your muscles with application of heating pad.
– Sometimes nocturnal leg cramps occur because of deficiency of potassium or magnesium. You should take proper diet or supplementation to fight off the deficiency.
Stretching legs, water exercises, and wearing comfortable shoes are also beneficial in curing this problem.
Dealing with Cramp Attacks
Nocturnal muscle cramps can be paralyzing at times. But if you are prepared for it, you can get relief and reduce the muscle soreness. Use these tips for the purpose:
– You should rise slowly and walk. Shake the legs so that there is improved flow of blood.
– One tablespoon yellow mustard can also give you good relief.
– Massaging in circular motion will also help.
– Do stretching exercises – Stretch both legs in the front and flex at ankles.
– You should also use sheets and blankets that don’t cause excess muscle contraction.
Source: The Hearty Soul