Leg cramps are abrasive, uncontrollable muscular spasms that might last a few seconds or many minutes. Your sleep, exercise regimen, and general quality of life are all impacted. You’ll want to avoid risk factors that some diseases and medications can contribute to. Try flexing the muscle, administering heat or cold, and massaging the region when a cramp strikes.
What are leg cramps?
Leg cramps are abrupt, unconscious, excruciating muscular aches that often occur in the calf, foot, or thigh. They are called “Charley horses” and can occasionally cause your leg to spasm or tense up violently. Although uncomfortable, cramps are typically not harmful.
Leg cramps are possible during the night.
Leg cramps at night occur while you sleep or are not very active. They could cause you to wake up, hinder your ability to go back to sleep and keep you up all night with pain. Leg cramps can occur yearly, monthly, weekly, or even every night. It all depends on the individual. Anyone can experience nocturnal leg cramps, but older adults frequently experience them. Leg cramps occur at least once every two months in 33% of people over 60. They will almost certainly affect every adult over 50 at least once. Children will also make up 7% of the population. Leg cramps at night affect 40% of pregnant women on average.
What are the probable explanations for leg cramps?
With your unique physiology, one or more of the factors listed below may help explain why you wake up in agony at night.
Not stretching specific muscles
A few professionals have theorized that our cutting-edge style of life is to be criticized. While our ancient ancestors spent much time crouching—a position that lengthens leg ligaments and muscles—modern living has primarily done away with its need. There is evidence that our mostly sedentary lifestyles (spending most of our time sitting or not exercising) reduce the flexibility and length of our muscles and ligaments, which may result in squeezing.
There’s some proof that lack of hydration advances nighttime cramps. Muscle cramps occur more frequently in the summer and less frequently in the winter, which is an excellent example of an occasional occurrence, according to Michael Behringer, MD, Ph.D., a sports science educator at Goethe University in Germany. Dehydration might advance distinctive electrolyte characteristics in the blood, which could be one issue trigger. “This suggests that warmth and possibly at the same time liquid equilibrium impact the advancement of issues.”
Dozing in an odd posture
As you lie face down in bed, your foot is frequently in “plantar flexion,” which means your toe is pointing away from you and shortening your lower leg muscles. Even little changes in the foot might cause a spasm when the stools are in this position for extended periods. These muscles may benefit more from lying on your side, having your feet elevated, or sleeping in a different position where your toes are not pointing in any particular direction.
Muscle cramps have long been linked to strenuous activity. The authors of a review published in the journal Current Sport Medicine Reports write, “Skeletal muscular over-burden and tiredness might provoke muscle squeezing locally in the exhausted muscle filaments.” The review’s authors claim that this occurs even among competitors who are very skilled and prepared. There is no proven method for preventing these types of cramps. However, being hydrated may help.