Have you ever experienced a leg cramp in the middle of the night? If you have, you are in the right place since in this article we are going to explain you why they occur and how to stop them.
Many people deal with muscle cramps and for most of them, they are a chronic condition.
A cramp is an involuntary contraction of a muscle or a group of them which causes sharp pain, medium to strong intensity and causes hardening in the area. Muscle fatigue or dehydration are the most common factors that cause this contraction.
On the other hand, in some cases this problem is more recurrent and without apparent cause. The worst part is that the pains become more frequent during the night and in some cases, it’s so severe that it awakes the person in the middle of the night. The reason why this happens is because those people lead a sedentery lifestyle, they are not physically active as they suppose to be. Both sexes are likely to suffer them, although the chances increase after 50 years.
It should be also mentioned that nocturnal muscle cramps are not due to restless leg syndrome.
The common thing between the muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome is that they are more common during the hours of sleep. On the other hand, they differ in:
- Involuntary movements and tingling are the characteristics of SPL, and there is no contraction of a muscle or localized pain.
- If you suffer from SPL, you should move your leg to feel a relief in symptoms, while with cramps, you should only stretch it.
Why muscle cramps occur? How to avoid them?
Certain factors and some medical conditions are related directly with the occurance of muscle cramps.
1. Factors related to muscle cramps:
- Being physically unactive and in static position for a long period of time. The concrete floor can worsen the picture.
- On demand of the leg muscles.
- Sitting for long time in an inappropriate position
2. Medical conditions that favor the onset of cramps:
- neuromuscular problems,
- Endocrine diseases
- by the use of diuretics or statins (drugs to lower blood cholesterol)
- Problems in the body structure: flat feet, poor posture, etc.
How to prevent them?
- Try alternative therapies like acupuncture or reflexology.
- Try to use comfortable shoes and avoid high heels.
- Always keep your body well hydrated and make sure to drink 2 liters of water on a daily basis.
- Your diet should consist of foods rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium because the deficiency of these minerals usually triggers muscle cramps.
- Use heating pads on the affected areas because they will help you relief muscle cramps.
- Consumes buckeye to improve blood circulation.
- Practice stretching exercises before going to sleep.