Nocturnal leg cramps or just legs cramp is pain that occurs during the night while you are sleeping. The pain can make you to wake up in the middle of the night and the reason can be prolonged hours of inactivity. The pain can be also in the thighs and feet but it commonly occurs in the area of the calf. Sometimes you can feel pain that last few seconds and sometimes more even couple minutes. Muscle soreness may linger for the rest of the night or even until the following day after the leg cramp passes. Both men and women can experience leg cramps and they occur more commonly in adults over the age of 50.
Leg cramps at night, different from restless leg syndrome (RLS)
During sleeping hours occur both nocturnal leg cramps and restless leg syndrome (RLS) but that is the only similarity between the two conditions. Between leg cramps at night and restless leg syndrome there are many differences, including:
Moving the leg in RLS offers relief – moving the leg in nocturnal leg cramps does not, instead stretching is required.
RLS is more of a discomfort or crawling feeling in your legs. Nocturnal leg cramps cause pain or cramping and RLS does not. Nocturnal leg cramps often prevent movement RLS causes the desire to move the legs.
Causes and risk factors of leg cramps at night
Often unknown is the exact cause of nocturnal leg cramps, but potential causes and risk factors of nightly leg cramps include:
Over-exertion of the muscles in the leg
Sitting for prolonged periods of time
Standing or working on concrete floors
Medical conditions, too, can contribute to nocturnal leg cramps, such as:
Endocrine disorders like diabetes
Structural disorders like flat feet
Diuretics, statins, beta agonists
Treatment and prevention for nocturnal leg cramps
Depending on what causes the cramps, there is adequate treatment for leg cramps. For example the solution is to stay well hydrated if the reason is dehydration. Deficiencies in minerals: magnesium or potassium are linked to muscle cramping.
Before going to bed first stretch your legs.
Wear ergonomic shoes and avoid high heels.
To build leg muscles do water exercises.
Use horse chestnut, which has been shown to increase blood flow to the legs.
To ease any muscle tightness, before you to sleep take a relaxing, warm bath. To the affected area apply a heating pad.
Try acupuncture treatment to loosen tight leg muscles.
What to do when spasms happen?
At the point when a nighttime muscle spasm strikes, it may almost abandon you deadened. If you know how to handle an attack properly, you will be relieved and less sore.
Read few tips to better handle nighttime leg spasms:
Amplify both legs in front you while sitting on the floor. Presently flex your feet at the lower legs and point your toes toward your knees – you might need to pull on your feet to obtain a better stretch out.
Get up gradually and stroll around a bit – shaking your legs can likewise enhance blood stream.
In a roundabout movement delicately rub the region.
Guarantee covers and sheets are not sufficiently tight to make the leg muscle contract.
To diminish discomfort take a tablespoon of yellow mustard.