Are you worried about your Night Leg Cramps?
While leg cramps can happen at any time of the day, you may find that you suffer from them during the night, which is likely to significantly affect your ability to get meaningful rest meaning that you to may find yourself feeling confused, unable to concentrate, or lethargic during the day. You are more likely to experience night leg cramps if you are pregnant or as you get older. It is likely that your leg cramps are not a sign of a serious medical condition but caused by excessive straining during exercise, which may be exacerbated by hotter weather, or a simple case of dehydration. Certain vitamin deficiencies, such as low levels of iron and vitamin B12, can also be a cause for leg cramps. However, in some situations it could also be caused by taking certain medications, such as statins, used to lower your cholesterol, or diuretics, which are used to treat high blood pressure. Liver disease caused by excessive alcohol intake is also likely to increase your chances of developing cramps. It is worth noting that in some situations it may be difficult to ascertain the exact cause of your cramping.
If you experience a leg cramp you can take steps to relieve it at home. If you are experiencing a cramp because of playing sport or exercising, then stop what you are doing and sit down to rest for a while. Firstly, gently stretch the muscle following the steps below.
- Stand an arm’s length away from a wall
- Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor
- Now, try leaning forwards so that your hands can touch the wall, you will be able to feel your calf muscle stretch while you do this.
- Try to hold the position for several seconds
- Stand up straight once more
- Repeat this process a few times
Do not forget to massage the calf muscle to reduce your discomfort. Take over the counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel it is necessary. These will not stop the immediate pain caused by the cramp itself, but they might help to alleviate any aching that may occur afterwards, because of the cramping. To prevent leg cramps from happening in the future always remember to warm up before you take part in sports or exercises.
Leg cramps are not usually a sign of a serious condition and although painful, they are unlikely to last very long and will clear up without any treatment. If stretching out your muscle to ease the spasms caused by leg cramps has not worked you may find that your doctor prescribes Quinine, to help alleviate your discomfort but this is not suitable for everyone and would be prescribed on a case-by-case basis. It is recommended that you visit a doctor to discuss leg cramping if you are experiencing them regularly, they are lasting longer than ten minutes or are accompanied by additional unexplained symptoms such as peripheral oedema, otherwise known as swelling of the leg or a loss of sensation. You may find that your doctor suggests some blood tests.
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- Chronic kidney disease
- Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Muscle fatigue
- Nerve damage
- Parkinson's disease
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