Sunday, 4 December 2016



Leg cramps at night – nocturnal leg cramps – are pains that occur during the sleeping hours. They can cause a person to wake up and occur at night due to prolonged hours of inactivity. Nocturnal leg cramps commonly occur in the calf but can also cause pain in the thighs and feet. Pain due to leg cramps at night can last for mere seconds or for several minutes. After the leg cramp passes, muscle soreness may linger for the rest of the night or even until the following day. 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
The restless leg syndrome (RSL) and leg cramps usually appear during the night but this is the only common thing between these two conditions.  There are several differences between leg cramps and the restless leg syndrome:

  • RLS causes feeling of soreness or crawling feeling in the legs
  • the RSL does not induce pain or cramps unlike the nocturnal leg cramps
  • if you move your leg during RLS, you will be relieved, and if you move your leg while you experience a leg cramp, you will feel pain, and that is why you need to stretch it
  • during RLS you want to move the legs, and during night leg cramps you want to avoid movement
Causes And Risk Factors of Leg Cramps at Night
We cannot say for sure why night leg cramps occur, but there are certain causes and risk factors which are linked with leg cramps:
  • standing for a long time or working on concrete floors
  • over-exertion of the leg muscles
  • sitting inadequately
  • sitting for a long periods of time
There are also several medical conditions which may cause leg cramps, including:
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alcoholism
  • dehydration
  • pregnancy
  • neuromuscular disorders
  • Statins, diuretics, beta agonists
  • structural disorders (flat feet for example)
  • endocrine disorders (diabetes for example)
  • Statins, diuretics, beta agonists
Treatment And Prevention For Nocturnal Leg Cramps
In order to treat the leg cramps you need to know the reason which caused them. For example, if they appear due to dehydration, than you must drink plenty of water during the day. Below, you can find a list of some treatments and preventative methods which can relieve this condition:
  • You can put a heating pad on the affected area
  • use horse chestnut, as it improves the blood flow in the body and in the legs
  • take a warm, relaxing bath before sleeping to loose the tightened muscles
  • Take enough magnesium or potassium, because these mineral deficiencies can often cause leg cramps
  • you can also try acupuncture to relax your muscles
  • Wear comfortable shoes, and avoid wearing high heals
  • stretch before going to bed
  • do water exercises in order to build leg muscles
What to do When Cramps Occur
When night leg cramps occur during the night, people often feel as paralyzed. So, that is why you should know how to help yourself and how to reduce pain after they are gone. Here are some tips:
  • Consume a tablespoon of yellow mustard
  • Get up from the bed and try walking for some time. Shake your legs to improve the blood flow.
  • Sit on the floor, place your legs in front of you, and flex your feet at the ankles. Then, point your toes toward your knees and pull your feet in order to get a better stretch
  • massage the affected area with circular movements
  • make sure that the blankets and the sheets are not too tight and that they do not cause the leg cramps.