If you’ve ever had one of those excruciatingly painful leg cramps in the middle of the night, you’re probably itching to know how to get rid of them.
Not only are they uncomfortable, but they can last for hours and interrupt your sleep, leaving you with less energy the next day.
Today we bring you some very effective remedies to relieve these leg cramps, but before we dive into them, it is important to understand what night leg cramps are and why they occur.
What is a nocturnal leg cramp?
As the name suggests, nocturnal leg cramps are leg pain that occurs at night. It usually occurs in the calf muscle, but is sometimes accompanied by the leg and thigh muscles. According to the doctors of livestrong, a cramp is caused by an involuntary muscle contraction, commonly known as a spasm. It causes pain in the area and limits the use of the muscle for a period of time.
Nocturnal leg cramps affect both men and women equally, but are more common in people over the age of 50.
What are your causes?
Some leg cramps occur without an apparent cause, but many are caused by standing or working on concrete floors, muscle overexertion for a long period of time, sitting in the wrong position, or loss of musculature.
According to Livestrong, those over the age of 40 are more vulnerable to these cramps because they are losing muscle in their legs. This makes the muscles respond less efficiently when faced with sudden activity and leads to muscle cramps.
Dehydration, pregnancy, alcoholism, Parkinson’s, or diabetes can also contribute to leg cramps.
What can we do about it?
Before putting any of these tips into practice, it is important that you go to your doctor so that he can examine you and tell you exactly what to do.
Even so, if you suffer from muscle cramps in your legs, these tips can come in handy.
To prevent cramps
When you get home, sit down and stretch both legs (if you can’t stretch both, just stretch one and bend the other). The toes should point up, as if you wanted to reach your knees with them. Bend your legs and straighten them again. To make this exercise even more useful, with your legs stretched out, grab your toes with the palms of your hands, at first it will pull a little, but you will get used to it. Next, massage the area where you usually get cramps in a circular motion.
Taking a hot bath also goes a long way in preventing cramps, as it relaxes any muscle tension that may have built up during the day, making cramps less likely.
Putting a hot cloth on the area where you usually get cramps is also very beneficial, as is wearing ergonomic shoes.
Diet is also something very important, you must be very hydrated and eat a lot of fruit. Magnesium is also very important to your diet if you suffer from these cramps.
If you just got the cramp
You can do the aforementioned stretches, but it’s also good to get up and walk around to increase blood flow in your legs. If you can’t get up, shake your legs while sitting.
Another remedy for cramps is to take a tablespoon of mustard, as the acetic acid present in mustard works wonders. It prepares the body to produce more acetylcholine which causes the muscles to relax and stop being contracted by the cramp.
Finally, drinking tonic also relieves the pain of cramps and makes them disappear in a few minutes.