Avoid Those Annoying Night Leg Cramps

Woman Massaging Her FeetNighttime is supposed to be a time where we rest or sleep, so our body can recover from our daily activities. However, there is a common symptom that can interrupt your sleep or rest and make laying down quite painful. Nighttime leg cramps are said to be experienced by around 60% of adults in the United States. That means there are many people out there who, instead of sleeping, are dealing with a very painful ailment that they either experience upon laying down or rudely awakened to. The risk of having leg cramps at night also increases with age, so you may be wondering what you can do to prevent this from happening or what to do at the moment to lessen the pain. The good news is that Questcare Medical Clinic has some tips to help you work through these nocturnal leg cramps.

Causes of Nocturnal Leg Cramps

The problem with leg cramps and calf cramps are that not a lot is medically known for sure about the causes of them. There are many speculations, and some people actually have been able to narrow down the causes or reasons for their nighttime leg cramps. It is unfortunately elusive to find the exact cause in every case because it can be different for each person. However, there is plenty of medical conjecture to say that it could be some of the following:

  • vitamin deficiencies
  • mineral deficiencies
  • certain medical conditions such as diabetes or hypothyroidism
  • an electrolyte imbalance
  • dehydration
  • too much or too little exercise
  • certain prescription medications such as statins or diuretics

Relieving a Leg Cramp

Since it is unlikely to say that if you’ve had a nighttime leg cramps you will never have one again, the first line of defense is to know what to do when it occurs. Though it may seem painful, stretching is the best way to help the affected muscle. If it is a calf spasm, then point your toes towards your head while keeping an extended knee. While this might hurt while you’re doing it, often in the spasm and cramping will cease much faster than waiting it out. Also, hydrating yourself at night may help relieve the cramp or spasm. An interesting study in 2010 actually found that drinking pickle juice during the onset of a leg cramp can almost immediately reduce symptoms. This is thought to be because pickle juice triggers a reflex to reduce the firing of neurons involved in cramping.

Long-term Prevention

There are also ways to prevent leg cramps or to reduce their occurrence. While it may seem like it would be better to know the cause of your leg cramps in order to prevent them, it can also be as simple as having healthy and strong muscles that keep you from getting frequent cramps. Daily stretching, especially a move called mobility wall squats, can help strengthen muscles so they do not cramp and spasm at night. Of course, be sure to take all your prescription medication as directed and have a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Contact Questcare Medical Clinic

If you suffer from leg cramps and would like to be evaluated by a physician, contact Questcare Medical Clinic for information about our locations and hours.