What Is A Muscle Cramps?
The pain that occur in the legs during the night is known as nocturnal leg cramps. This pain awakens you from sleep but these cramps can also come if you are inactive for long in bed. Leg cramps causes a lot of pain make muscle tight or tangled. Cramps generally occur in calf muscles and sometimes it can happen in the feet which come on suddenly.
Up to 60% of adults experience the random nocturnal leg cramp, which is very painful and make muscle stitch or knotted. These cramps generally occur when the nerves which carry signals to your muscles sends too many messages simultaneously. This makes muscle feel contracted or knotted in an uncomfortable way.
These muscle cramps can occur while you are sleeping or being stagnant for long period of time and this can prompt nerve breakdown. This is the reason you get muscle cramps while you are asleep. These cramps may last for quite a few seconds to quite as few minutes. There might also be muscle soreness after the cramp goes away and strangely, muscle cramps generally occur in warmer months and the reason behind this is that there is higher level of vitamin D in summer. The nutrients you get from sun helps in the growth and repair of your muscle fibre.
This muscle cramps problem is more common in aged people as you hit 50; your nerve cells start diminishing and are unable to send messages from brain to your muscles.
Fortunately, these cramps are harmless but in some cases it can cause electrolyte imbalance or neuromuscular disorders like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
You can avoid these muscle cramps by stretching your calves, hamstrings and quads before bed.
What Causes Leg Cramps?
The exact causes of cramps are still not known but there are factors which have been linked to be as follows:
Inactive lifestyle – There need to be regular stretching of muscles to function them properly. Being inactive for longer duration can make muscles more prone to cramping.
Muscle overexertion – Rapid exercising or moving muscles leads to overworked muscles and this leads to cramping of muscles.
Sitting Improperly – If you sit with crossed legs or pointed toes for longer duration of time, this could lead to cramping due to shorten calf muscles.
Lengthy standing – Standing for a longer period of time during work can lead to nocturnal leg cramps.
Abnormal nerve activity – These cramps occurs due to decreased nerve cells which are unable to send messages from brain to your muscles and it mostly happens to aged people.
Shortening of the tendons – The tendons, which is connecting muscles and bones tends to get short over time and this leads to cramps in muscles.
Leg cramps can also be caused due to certain medical conditions which are:
- People having flat feet
- Liver, kidney, and thyroid conditions
- Heart diseases
How To Prevent Leg Cramps?
Drink Plenty of Water – Water intake helps muscles to function normally. You have to adjust water intake in accordance with the weather, age, activities or medications you are on.
Stretching Legs – Before going to bed if you stretch your muscles and calves it reduces the occurrence of cramps.
Riding Stationary Cycle – Pedalling before going to bed loosen up muscles and helps in avoiding cramps.
Sleeping position – Make sure you don’t sleep with your feet pointing downwards this may lead to feet cramp and try to sleep on your back.
Choose right footwear – People with flat feet should choose right footwear to avoid muscle cramps.
Avoid heavy or tucked-in bedding – Make sure you choose right bedding or comforter which will keep your feet upright while you sleep.
How To Treat Leg And Calf Cramps?
However leg cramps at night can cause strong pain which could be ignored and that need not to be medically treated.
But if pain is intense following remedies can be practiced to relieve muscle cramps pain:
Massage your leg – Massaging the affected muscle can help it relax and loosen the muscle.
Stretching – If you get a cramp in your calf, straightening leg would help and help relaxing the muscle.
Walking on heels – By doing this it will trigger the muscles and will help it in relaxing.
Applying heat – Heat helps to calm muscle pain. By applying hot towel, heating pad to the affected area or taking a hot shower could help.
Drinking pickle juice – Having a little bit of pickle juice can help relaxing muscle cramps.