Some Unknown Facts About Leg Cramps
- Leg cramps area common problem faced by the athletes during any sports event.
- Running would surely lead to leg cramps as compared to other exercises as it uses all the leg muscles.
- When practicing Yoga, legs up the wall is the best position to get relief from cramp legs.
- Nourishing your body on a regular basis and giving it, adequate rest would surely reduce the chances of developing leg cramps.
- Leg cramps can be eased soon by simply stretching the muscles slowly.
- Peripheral artery disease and thyroid issues can lead to leg cramps on a frequent basis.
- The leg cramps which occur at night, are also known as night leg cramps or calf-muscle cramps.
- There are people who experience cramps not only on their feet, but also on the thighs.
- Dehydration, alcoholism and flat feet are the prime factors that lead to leg cramps.
- Senior people and pregnant women are more likely to suffer from leg cramps.
- For preventing from leg cramps, one should support the toes while sleeping.
Leg Cramps – An Introduction
Have you ever felt the spasms that are painful suddenly while sleeping, or simply by standing up! This is nothing but leg cramps. Also known as night cramps and Charley Horse, they generally take place where the calf muscles are located. They are so painful that the victim would directly wake up from deep sleep. Not only on nights, they also harass you sometimes in the daytime while you are busy in activities like cycling or running. Thinking how the activities like running and cycling would give you cramps! The reason behind this is that the fitness puts strain on the leg muscles, as a result, muscle cramps would occur all of a sudden when the strain is in excess. Generally, the cramps last for a few seconds, but in some cases, it may also extend up to nearly 10 minutes. This sudden change in the muscles can take place due to contractions in either one or many muscles. It also gives you hard lumps where the pain occurs at the place of contraction. The problem of cramps is so common that there are several searches done in a single day on how to get rid of leg cramps.
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But before moving on to the treatments to get rid of them, it is better to know the reasons why do they occur.
Causes Of Leg Cramps
When it comes to what causes leg cramps, there are various reasons that can be linked with leg cramps like diabetes, peripheral artery disease, dehydration, etc. Also, the leg cramps would attack the people above 60 years and pregnant women more as compared to others. The cramps mostly catch a single nerve or a group of muscles of the legs. When the legs muscles face hyperexcitability they stimulate them leading to muscle cramps.
Here are some reasons that can lead to leg cramps.
1. Leg Injuries
Leg cramps can also attack you anytime when you have faced any kind of injury. This happens when protective muscle is observed after any kind of injury, which includes bone injury as the primary injury. Also, when the injury hits the muscles, it can lead to muscle spasm. The leg cramps,reduce the movement of the legs, which helps in stabilizing the portion of injury. Hence, if you suffer from cramps at the time of injury, it can be one of the side effects of the injury, that would have affected your muscles to some extent.
2. Intensive Activities
The leg cramps are widely linked with the intense activities which occurs when the muscles are used roughly. This includes too much of stretching, excess workout, sitting for long period in the same position, sleeping for long hours in a single position, etc. In this case, the older adults, or say the senior citizens are at higher risk of getting leg cramps, as they perform rough physical activities. Also, repeating the same activity several times that include the muscle fatigue in it, can also lead to leg cramps.
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When it comes to sports and other activities performed by the athletes, it can lead to loss of fluid in excess due to perspiration. Such dehydration is the prime reason of having leg cramps. Some individual experiences such cramps during warm weather, which can also be the sign of having a heat stroke. The intake of medicines that promote frequent urination, as well as, have a weak intake of fluid both are the signs of dehydration, which can possibly lead to leg cramps. Along with all these, sodium depletion is also a reason that leads to cramps. When the human body loses a good amount of sodium, it is also one of the functions leading to dehydration, and finally leg cramps.
4. Shifts In The Body Fluid
When the body fluids are distributed awfully, the individual faces leg cramps. The changes in the body fluid that happens when the body passes through dialysis at the time of kidney failure is also a reason the body faces leg cramps. Also, cirrhosis, which happens in the liver due to the shifting of the fluid in the ascites, can give your leg cramps either frequently or sometimes in a week.
5. Reduced Amount Of Blood Calcium Or Magnesium
When the blood levels, reduce due to lack of adequate calcium or magnesium, it directly affects the nerves of the muscles by exciting them, which leads to stimulation. This is also one of the main reasons why the older age people and the pregnant women face leg cramps frequently. Pregnant women face low levels of magnesium and calcium during pregnancy, due to which, they are given in the form of supplements. When the body faces reduced levels of magnesium or calcium, it may lead to situations like hyperventilation, diuretics, vomiting, lack of calcium and magnesium, lack of proper absorption of magnesium and calcium, deficiency of Vitamin D, improper function of the parathyroid glands, etc. Along with this, when the blood levels face lack of required amount of potassium, such people face leg cramps.
When a muscle suffers from excess stress, or when the leg is used for a long time, it can lead to issues like leg cramps. The athletes and the sportsperson mostly suffer from leg cramps. When the athletes carry excess of training or practice for longer hours than the expected, the muscles or say nerves face more stress due to which, the athletes suffer from leg cramps. Also, if the individual faces too much of sweat, he loses sodium from the body, which increases the chances of developing leg cramps.
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7. Other Reasons
There are various other reasons that might cause you cramps. Some of the popular ones are Addison’s disease, too much intake of alcohol, cirrhosis, diarrhea, diuretics, flatfeet, hypothyroidism, kidney failure, lead poisoning, sarcoidosis, muscle fatigue, motor neuron problems, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes type 2, oral contraceptives, peripheral artery disease, etc. Also, if you are on medications that include diuretics, Salbutamol, or statins in it can lead to spasms. People having a poor flow of blood in their legs, don’t stretch their legs adequately, remain active in warmer temperatures, suffer from deficiency of potassium and magnesium, have suffered from injuries in the spinal cord, are also likeable to suffer from leg cramps. Other than this, some medicines like Furosemide, Microzide, Donepezil, Neostigmine, Nifedipine, Raloxifene, Terbutaline, Albuterol, Tolcapone, Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor, Pravachol, Crestor, Zocor, etc. can lead to leg cramps for the users.
Hence, these are the possibilities that can bring situations in your life, where you could be attacked suddenly with leg cramps. Hence, the next time you have any muscle cramps, check on the reason and try to solve it with due care.
How To Get Rid Of Leg Cramps?
No doubt the leg spasms is an instant reaction of the muscles, which can occur anytime, there are still some secret tips that would help you on how to get rid of cramps in legs. Here are some of the widely suggested tips for lessening the cramps.
The prime step for dealing with the leg cramps is to relax the muscles. For this, you can immediately stop the rough activities, and stretch your muscles or say legs slightly. Have a hold of the stretch for a few seconds and release it. Don’t give much stress to your legs. Another way is to massage the muscle at the time of stretching the leg. Along with this, you can use the heating pad in the area of cramps while you stretch.
The doctors, when asked how to get rid of leg cramps at night, generally suggest taking magnesium. Magnesium has worked effectively, especially, for the pregnant women who are facing cramps. Also, having magnesium in your diet is highly advised for the people who experience leg cramps on a daily basis. If you are one of them, try having seeds and nuts in adequate quantity daily to get rid of it. However, it is advisable to talk to your doctor before you start with magnesium for your cramps issues.
3. Warm Soak
Some of the medical professionals sometimes suggest you to have magnesium from the outer part of your body. Yes. The personal trainers in the gym or athletes, the coaches and also the physiotherapists, suggest applying a hot cloth on the muscle that is cramped. This old technique works magically on the muscle cramps by adding or even without adding Epsom salts. Both wet and dry, hot soaks would help to a great extent for dealing with spasms, for instant results. However, if you are a patient of any kind of spinal cord injury or diabetes, you should stay away from this trick for cramps.
4. Stay Hydrated
One of the major reasons for having cramps is dehydration. This means the best answer to how to get rid of cramps in leg is by keeping yourself hydrated. Taking adequate amount of water on daily basis would help you keep the cramps away. The coaches or personal trainers also suggest a glass of water or drink having electrolytes, for lessening the pain and preventing you from having the other one.
5. Start Walking
For saving yourself from cramps, having a walk can be the best remedy. Contracting and relaxing your muscles is a signal that your muscles are on the good path. When experimenting everything fails, having a walk on regular basis, would surely work for getting rid of the spasms. Along with walks, getting regular walks would also prove to be a great idea for handing the cramps for your legs.
No doubt painkillers are a bad option for any pain in the body, sometimes they are required to reduce the pain. As the pain vanishes in few minutes, painkiller is not an appropriate option for cramps. However, there are some cramps that come with severe pain for longer times. For such cramp pains, a mild painkiller can be taken.
Leg cramps is not a major issue in general, and hence, it can be taken care of by simple homely solutions. It takes some minutes only to get rid of the pain it gives you. So, if you are experiencing it, go for the possible option to slowly stopping it.
Possible Remedies For Nocturnal Leg Cramps
Nocturnal leg cramp is nothing new, but leg cramps that awake you from the sweet dreams. They also capture your leg when it stays inactive for long hours. They generally occur in the calf muscles, but can also be found in the thighs and feet too. Nocturnal cramps are quite painful, which can lead to knots in the muscles. They are widely observed in people who are 50 and above, however, some youngsters also sometimes face it.
Here are some possible ways for how to get rid of leg cramps at night that would aid you for sleeping continuously.
- Have nearly 6-10 glasses of water on daily basis.
- Give your legs slight stretching before you move to bed.
- Use blankets or bed sheets loose at your feet side to avoid distortion of the toes.
- Wear shoes that are not too tight to your feet, and mostly to your toes.
- Spend some time on the stationary bicycle before you move to sleep.
- Use hot compresses for relaxing your muscles before you go to bed.
- Ask your doctor for some calcium channel blockers.
So, are you also facing muscle cramps frequently!Try any of the suitable treatments and gift yourself healthy muscles.