Charley Horse, or better known as leg cramps or night cramps, are painful spasms that generally appear in the calf muscles.
Even though leg cramps usually cause pain through the night and therefore, jolt a person awake in the middle of sleeping, they can also strike through the day, mostly during some physical activities, as cycling or running.
However, simple stretching or some other self-care measure can prevent and relieve the night leg cramps, so they are quite harmless. But, you must visit a doctor if they appear on a regular base and cause you severe discomfort. This is happening especially if the leg cramps are destructing your sleep, continues to come back, or you are having pain or numbness, swelling, muscle weakness.
It is often difficult to pinpoint the real cause, but mainly the risk of getting night leg cramps increases with our age. Actually, leg cramps usually appear for no any particular reason.
Not getting enough calcium, magnesium, or potassium in your diet, prolonged sitting, or dehydration can be a reason for leg cramps. Also, certain medications as beta blockers, diuretics, and other blood pressure drugs are associated with leg cramps.
Sometimes, an underlying metabolic condition, as parathyroid condition or underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can be related to these kind of cramps.Some other conditions, such as diabetes,which disrupt the metabolism could also be a reason for muscle cramps.
The pain caused by leg cramps may vary in its intensity, and could last from a few seconds to 15 minutes or sometimes even longer. In order to get a relief you should:
- gently rub the cramped muscle to relax it
- stretch it to ease a spasm
- for a calf cramp: stand and put your weight on the painful leg and slightly blend the knee
- but, if you have huge pain and cannot stand up, then you should straighten the leg and flex the top of the foot in a direction of your head
- apply heat or cold to get an instant relief
- to relax tense muscles, put cold pack or some ice directly on the painful area
- put heat with a heating pad or warm towel, or just by taking a hot shower or bath, in order to reduce tenderness or muscle pain. That will make you feel so much better
Prevention is possible, even though night leg cramps can take you by surprise. Here are the most incredible tips that will definitely help you:
Consume plenty of water through the day to keep your body dehydrated. That will help your muscles to relax. One of the most significant things is to replenish the fluids when engaging in some physical activities and to continue consuming water and liquids after your activities.
Stretching before bed
It is a great idea to stretch before going to bed every night if you suffer from night leg cramps.
Doing light exercise
To prevent cramps while you’re sleeping, you should ride a stationary bike for a few minutes before going to bed.
Choosing the appropriate shoes
To prevent leg cramps you should wear shoes with a proper support.
Un–tucking the covers
Un-tuck or loosen the bed-sheets and covers at your foot of the bed.
Some pain relievers as acetaminophen (Tylenol, and others) may be of real help if self-care strategies are not giving you a relief from the pain.
15 Foods That Help Leg Cramps
- sea salt
- apple cider vinegar
- pumpkin seeds
- Greek yogurt
- green leafy vegetables
Source: Healthy Recipes Home
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