Unfortunately, a great percentage of people experience leg cramps at night. Besides being rather uncomfortable and painful, this health problem can prevent one from having a good night’s sleep. These rapid muscle spasms or contractions are usually felt in the thighs, feet, and calves. They can happen soon after a person falls asleep or before waking up in the morning and the cramping can last for up to a few minutes. When the cramping stops, the muscles remain tensed and tight and can be sensitive to touch and movement.
Leg Cramps vs. Restless Leg Syndrome
Very often, people think that this is one and the same health problem. However, they are completely different, i.e. people experience bigger pain when they try to move their legs during cramps whereas in the case of restless leg syndrome, people feel relieved when they move their legs.
Potential Causes of Leg Cramps
Even though the precise reason for leg cramps is not yet discovered, some scientists believe that specific health problems, conditions, and activities can cause this painful experience. These are some of them:
- Magnesium deficiency
- Potassium deficiency
- Kidney disease
- Calcium deficiency
- Muscle overload
- Poor blood circulation
- Thyroid gland problems
- Extensive exposure to low temperatures
- Some pharmaceutical drugs
Natural Methods for Treatment of Muscle Cramps
Regular physical activity
To relax the muscles and prevent cramping, avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time and make sure you take a 10- to 30-minute walk on a daily basis.
If you are experiencing a leg cramp, begin to stretch the muscle and gently rub the area.
Drink more water
To prevent dehydration, you need to drink enough water throughout the day.
Acupuncture or massage
Acupuncture and massage are known to have a soothing and relaxing effect on the muscles, which directly deals with the root of the problem.
Intake more magnesium
Magnesium is an important nutrient which has the power to prevent muscle spasms. You can get it from eating more seeds and nuts or by rubbing the legs with magnesium oil. You can also opt for quality magnesium supplements.
Epsom salt bath
Epsom salt baths can be of great aid for people who have this problem. The soaking will soothe the muscles and supply the body with magnesium.
Immediate Relief for Leg Cramps
- Move the leg if possible to better the circulation
- Rub the area gently to relax it
- Sit on the floor and extend the legs and flex the feet at the ankles and then drag the feet with the hands to stretch the muscles
- Make sure you have a good airflow while you are sleeping, i.e. opt for quality blankets, pajamas, and sheets