All things that are written on this website are about our experiences and what have
worked for us, or general information only. We are not telling you to do any of those
things mentioned and we do not endorse any products found on these pages. We simply
want to share with you what has helped us. Hope that you enjoy reading our posts
and please come back regularly to read more!
Niche Topics ( Health and Fitness) is dedicated to help you lead a happy and healthy
life. We provide the latest updates on nutrition, dieting, exercise, fitness, home
remedies and natural cures for common illnesses, and other health-related topics.
Get in shape with us and keep your body running at it’s peak!
Also known as charley horse, legs cramps at night are sudden uncontrolled spasms,
or contractions of muscles in the calf that can last for a few seconds to a few minutes.
While most nocturnal leg cramps (night cramps) are usually harmless and not a serious
health concern, they can be quite unbearably painful and disrupt sleep.
For the record, nocturnal leg cramps is not the same as restless leg syndrome, a
disorder characterized by an intense urge to move the legs, particularly when trying
to sleep. Restless leg syndrome does not cause cramping or pain.
Although no one knows exactly what causes nighttime leg cramps, there are a number
of possible causes of leg cramps pain.
Possible Causes of Leg Cramps and What Can You Do to Prevent It
1. The first thing you want to do is to increase fluid intake. Dehydration can make
you prone to cramping in your legs. Drink plenty of water and other fluids in the
form of soups and juices to avoid dehydration.
Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea, or alcohol (some people experience
painful leg cramps after beer consumption) don't contribute positively towards your
fluid consumption. These drinks have diuretic effects, meaning they make you urinate
more frequently so you become more dehydrated.
If you're active in sports, make sure to drink fluid before, during and after your
workout. Sports drink such as Powerade or Gatorade will replenish fluid and electrolytes
that may be lost through sweating and urination.
2. Deficiency of minerals (or low level of minerals) in the blood – calcium, potassium,
sodium, and magnesium – can be a reason for frequent leg cramps. Therefore, it makes
good sense to eat a healthy diet that's rich in these nutrients to significantly
help leg cramps.
You want to consume foods such as bananas, strawberries and kiwi (potassium), pumpkin
and sunflower seeds (magnesium), dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese (calcium).
All of these foods provide you with the electrolytes/minerals that are good for leg
cramps and prevent leg muscle cramping.
Other foods that are high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium include beets, and
fish such as salmon, halibut, tuna and snapper.
3. Wearing ill-fitting footwear for a long time can be a cause of cramps in the legs
and feet. Shoes that are too tight will constrict blood circulation and can cause
your calf muscles to tense up and cramp.
Wear good, comfortable shoes that provide proper arch support whether you're running,
walking or standing for long periods of time. Avoid high-heels, narrow pointy-toed
shoes, non-padded sandals, or any poorly-fitting shoes.
Additionally, those with flat feet, overweight people and older folks are more susceptible
to leg cramps.
4. Leg cramps can also occur if you overuse your leg muscles – getting too much exercise,
or sudden increase in physical activity. The best way to avoid getting leg cramps
is to warm up and stretch your muscles before and after exercise.
Aside from that, standing for a long time on concrete flooring, prolonged sitting
in the same position, or putting your legs in awkward positions while sleeping may
also contribute to leg cramping.
5. If you're taking prescription drugs, you need to be aware that leg cramps can
also happen due to certain medicines such as antipsychotics, oral contraceptive pills,
diuretics, statins, and steroids.
Natural Leg Cramp Pain (Charley Horse) Relief
1. For quick nocturnal leg cramp relief, get out of your bed and walk around, or
jiggle the cramped leg.
2. Stretching your calf muscles gently and slowly will relax muscles, which in turn
helps relieve the cramps. This simple exercise loosens tight calf muscles, and it
can be done either standing up or seated down.
Stand facing a wall, about 2-3 feet away (about an arm's length). Place both hands
on the wall to keep your balance. Put your uncramped leg about a foot from the wall
and bend that knee slightly. Lean into the wall. Stretch your cramped leg out as
far as you can, while keeping your heel down, and toes pointing to wall. Hold in
this position for about 15-30 seconds and release. Repeat 2-3 times and leg cramp
should go away after a few minutes.
To stretch calf muscles while sitting, straighten your legs and flex your foot towards
your knee. Grab your toes and pull them upward. You can also get someone to push
downward on your thigh above the knee.
Or, place a rolled towel under the ball of your foot and, while holding the towel
at both ends, gently pull the towel toward you while keeping knee straight. You should
feel your calf muscles stretching or the exercise isn't effective. Stay in this position
for a few minutes. It can be quite painful especially if you're more inflexible than
Home Remedies for Leg Cramps while Sleeping
If it still doesn't help to get rid of cramping, use these simple home remedies to
relieve leg cramps.
Try massaging the affected calf with your hands, or rub an ice pack on the cramped
muscle for no more than 10 minutes. Alternatively, take a hot shower or a warm bath,
or a heating pad to stop leg cramp.
Nocturnal leg cramps can be prevented if you stretch your leg muscles for a couple
of minutes before you go to bed each night. Riding a stationary bicycle for a few
minutes before bedtime also helps prevent leg cramps during sleep.
Some people believe that yellow mustard (Dijon mustard won't work) gives them instant
leg cramp relief while others say tonic water (quinine), chamomile tea, vinegar,
and cramp bark are natural cures for leg cramps.
Acupressure is also one of the best home remedies known to help relieve pain from
leg cramps quickly. Simply press firmly on the center of the upper lip, pinching
it between your thumb and index finger.
Tight sheets and bedding can restrict movement, resulting in leg and foot cramps.
Leaving bed linens untucked at the bottom to allow movement is the simplest way to
prevent leg cramp and pain.
If severe cramping persists, it's extremely important that you seek advice from a
doctor to rule out underlying disorder such as hypothyroidism, peripheral artery
disease, diabetes, or chronic kidney failure.
By Diane Hanson
I've been dealing with this problem for about 2 months now. I tend to get severe
lower leg cramps at night while sleeping. The cramp pain last for several minutes
and travel from my calf up to my thigh. Are there any natural ways to relieve and
stop leg cramps quickly? I've been to the doctor and he said everything's ok. I'm
a healthy 38 year old female with no blood pressure problem and not pregnant. Any
insight would be helpful. – Vanessa, Connecticut.
Not ready to have kids yet? Find out what you can do now to prolong fertility in
women and improve your chances of getting pregnant later in life. Also, read tips
on how to keep reproduction system healthy.