Night leg cramps are described as painful muscle contractions or tightening, which appear during the night. They are defined as sudden muscle spasms, usually felt in the lower leg, but you can also feel them in the thighs and feet.
The pain can be very sharp, which usually causes the person to wake up. It can last from a few seconds to few minutes. When the pain is gone, you can still feel the muscles sore. This condition may continue during the whole night and the next day. Men and women older than 50, are usually affected by this syndrome.
What’s the difference between leg cramps and restless leg syndrome?
It is true that both these conditions occur at night when in bed, but they are actually very different. Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder. When experiencing it, you have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. While doing that, you feel an instant relief. The leg cramps are totally different. Certain medications, standing on concrete floors, pregnancy, alcoholism, sedentary position for longer period of time, bad sitting posture, and some exercises can be the risk factors for the occurrence of leg cramps.
Preventing leg cramps: What to do?
- The best thing you can do is taking a hot bath before going to bed.
- Perform water exercises to build and shape the leg muscles.
- Make sure you always stretch your legs before bedtime.
- Get enough intake of potassium and magnesium.
- Use horse chestnut to improve blood circulation.
- It’s important to wear ergonomic shoes.
- Put a heating pad to the affected area.
How to relieve the spasms?
- Start by putting your legs in front of you and then sit on the ground. After that, bend the knees and position the toes toward the knees.
- It’s important to get up slowly and then turn around a bit. To stimulate the blood flow, shake your legs.
- By making circular motions, rub the area gently.
- Take a teaspoon of yellow mustard.