Are you suffering from painful leg cramps at night? Looking for rapid relief you can rely on? Learn about the common misconceptions of what causes cramps, and remedies you can start today to help reduce the severity and recurrence of your muscle cramps and spasms.
You’ve just had a long and hard, day at work or at the gym. You lay down to get some sleep, tossing and turning, finally able to doze off. Suddenly, completely out of nowhere, you feel a sharp, painful stiffness, in your leg, jolting you out of sleep. You try to wait it out. You try to stretch it out. The relief is only temporary.
Then, after what seems like an eternity, your leg muscle finally begins to relax. You try to go back to sleep, only to wake up groggy, tired, and frustrated! Sound Familiar?
You’re probably suffering from a common condition known as Nocturnal leg cramps.
Although it most commonly affects those aged 50 and older, this is a condition that affects people of all ages, even children aged 12 and younger.
Leg cramps at night are not fun. The good news is, there are specific measures you can take to prevent this from happening as often as they do now.
What do leg cramps at night mean?
Nocturnal leg cramps occur in your lower legs while sleeping. Since these types of leg cramps occur only at night, they often cause a disruption to your sleep pattern, affecting your focus and alertness the following day. You wake up groggy, unable to meet the day’s activities with vitality, which is especially true if you live an active lifestyle.
Cramps in your affected muscles can range from mild aches to severe spasms.
Often the pain of leg cramps is felt along the side of your shin, up through the calf, and into your inner and outer thigh. In some cases even your hamstrings, which can be especially painful. Leg cramps can be mild and cause only slight discomfort, or they can be severe and last for several minutes.
Typically the intensity of leg cramp pain is directly related to how active your muscles are; if they are contracted, it will hurt more than if they are completely relaxed.
This pain is common in those who are over 50 years of age and occurs mostly in your calf muscles that are closest to your feet. The pain can be so strong that it may awaken the sleeper.
Though the exact cause is often unknown, whenever leg cramps strike, two things seem to be involved: nerves and blood flow.
Your nerves may become overactive, causing the muscles they supply to suddenly contract. Blood flow, on the other hand, may become restricted during sleep when inactive muscles do not require as much blood flow.
Diagnosing Nocturnal leg cramps is even more tricky at times because it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the affected muscle. Your calf muscle is reportedly the most afflicted area, but as mentioned before, leg cramps can strike any part of the body.
What causes Nocturnal Leg Cramps or Muscle Cramps?
Before we discuss preventing leg cramps at night, it’s essential to go over the common causes of this painful, disruptive condition.
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