Night Leg Cramps and How to Overcome Them

by Kristihandaribullet
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Reviewed by dr. Koh Hau-Tek
Night Leg Cramps and How to Overcome Them
Night Leg Cramps and How to Overcome Them

You are in deep sleep. But then your leg muscles felt tense. It's so painful that it makes you want to scream. Well, learn what's happening and what you can do to overcome it.

Our body contains more than 600 muscles. Each type of muscle serves a certain purpose, such as carrying out body motions, regulating body posture, maintaining balance, supporting blood circulation, aiding respiration, and assisting digestion.


Leg muscles are among the most common to have issues. Have you ever had leg cramps? Leg cramps or muscular spasms affect the calf muscles, which run along the back of each leg from ankle to knee. Cramps can also affect the muscles at the front and rear of the thigh. As a result, the discomfort and tenderness caused by leg cramps make it difficult to move your legs.


Leg cramps frequently develop at night. Leg cramps can cause your legs to get fatigued and tingly very rapidly. Leg cramps can disrupt blood flow to the heart and result in varicose veins. If left untreated, veins might break and blood clots can form.


If this happens to you, don't panic. The muscles will relax on their own in less than ten minutes. However, even a day later, you may still experience some pain or soreness. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can help ease it.


What is the cause? Nobody knows for certain. These leg cramps are idiopathic, meaning they have no known cause. More common in women or adults.


However, there are various risk factors, such as


  1. Excessive sitting time. Muscles require movement on a regular basis in order to function properly. Sitting for an extended period of time increases the likelihood of leg cramps. Sitting with your legs crossed or standing on your toes for an extended period of time shortens the calves' muscles. This causes cramping to develop.

  2. Overexertion causes muscle weariness. This happens because the muscles work hard.

  3. Standing for too long. This syndrome is also associated with nighttime leg cramps.

  4. Medication use for diabetes, hypertension, nerves, and depression can trigger leg cramps.

Other conditions that increase the frequency of leg cramps include:

  • Pregnancy, structural problems (e.g. flat feet or spinal stenosis)
  • Neurological disorders (e.g. motor neuron disease or peripheral neuropathy)
  • Neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Parkinson's disease)
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (e.g. osteoarthritis)
  • Liver, kidney, and thyroid conditions, metabolic disorders (e.g. diabetes)
  • Cardiovascular conditions (e.g. heart disease or peripheral vascular disease)
  • Medications (e.g. statins and diuretics)

Tips for prevention and cure

There are various things you may take to avoid getting leg cramps too frequently. Here are the greatest ways to relieve leg cramps at night:

1. Consume more magnesium and calcium



Add magnesium-rich foods, such as nuts and seeds, to your diet. Alternatively, take magnesium supplements. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor first.


2. Strecthing



Regularly stretching your legs helps to relax the muscles. Relaxed muscles help to prevent leg cramps. When you have it, gentle stretching might bring immediate relief. Flexing the thigh and lower leg muscles after a leg cramp will typically help relieve the pain.


3. Massage



If you have leg cramps at night, gently massage the affected area with your thumb. This procedure is rapid and effective at relaxing stiff muscles.


4. Use a heater



This procedure is straightforward and uncomplicated. Warm the part of your foot that is cramping with a heating pad, hot water bottle, or hot towel. Hot temperatures promote muscular relaxation. Warm baths can also relieve severe or chronic cramping.


5. Stay hidrated



Dehydration can cause muscle cramps and impair muscle function. A well hydrated body will work better in a variety of ways, including muscle health. If you frequently have leg cramps at night, drink additional fluids before bed.


6. Adjust your sleeping position



Incorrect body or leg postures can occasionally induce leg cramps. Sleeping with your feet pointing down might cause severe leg cramps. If you frequently get leg cramps at night, lie on your back and elevate your knees with a pillow.


If you frequently have leg cramps at night, see a doctor. A proper diagnosis can alleviate suffering and enhance your quality of life.

ReferenceHealthline. Accessed in 2023. Leg Cramps at Night: Causes, Treatment, Prevention. Mayo Clinic. Accessed in 2023. Night Leg Cramps Causes. South Valley Vascular. Accessed in 2023. 6 Tips for Getting Rid of Leg Cramps at Night.