To know what exactly leg cramps feel like, ask a person who has experienced them. The answer surely would be an agonizing pain in the legs, most of the time during the middle of the night. Leg cramps most commonly occur in the calf muscles, but it can also occur at the hamstring, quadriceps and feet. The main reason for occurrence of leg cramps is contraction of the muscles in that area.
Leg cramps, which are also called muscle cramps are most commonly seen in old people. However, both young and old people can experience this problem. It is also very common in athletic people, pregnant woman and alcoholics. When a person experiences leg cramps, he or she would feel sudden muscle spasms on that part of the leg for a few minutes. Though the pain does not stay for a long time, a feeling of tenderness would linger around for the whole day.
Besides, people who experience frequent muscle cramps, have to learn about their remedy that would help in stopping the occurrence of the pain forever. However, before we look at the treatment measures, let us look at the causes that stimulate leg cramps in human beings.
The reason for people to experience leg cramps cannot be limited to just one factor. Rather, there are many reasons that can lead to muscle cramps. One of the most common causes of leg cramps is a person's sleeping position. Most of the time, we sleep by tucking the blanket tightly underneath causing the feet to bend downwards, leading to severe leg cramps. Sometimes, people have experienced leg cramps while doing vigorous activities or exercises.
Another reason for muscle cramps is said to be imbalance of electrolytes found in the body. People who experience leg cramps may be found with calcium, sodium, potassium or magnesium deficiencies. Dehydration is also said to be one of the main causes of muscle cramps. Moreover, some kind of nerve disorders can also give rise to leg cramps.
- If you have a leg cramp in the middle of the night or at the gym while exercising, the method to relieve the pain immediately would be to massage the part of the leg where the pain has arisen. Rubbing will generate heat and would help in relaxing the contracted muscles. Another method would be to do certain stretching exercises which would help in relieving the pain. Applying ice pack on the affected area would also be helpful in reducing the pain caused by leg cramps.
- If an individual is experiencing leg cramps very often, it would be beneficial to have a check up done by a medical practitioner. A laboratory test would help in determining the root cause of the problem. If an electrolyte deficiency is seen in the person, the physician would recommend the patient to consume sodium, magnesium, calcium or potassium supplements. There are also some other measures that have to be taken by the person as a part of leg cramps remedies.
- Drinking a glass of warm milk or hot water before going to bed would decrease the chances of leg cramps at night. Taking a hot shower before retiring to bed is also a part of treatment of leg cramps.
- Doing stretching exercises twice everyday would also be beneficial. It has been observed that people who have done stretching exercises regularly find relief from leg cramps in 3 - 4 weeks time. Before one starts exercising at the gym, do not forget to do warm up and stretching exercises too. Drinking lots of fluids (water and fruit juices) would keep one hydrated and safe from muscle cramps.
- Along with exercises, it is also necessary to bring a change in one's diet and food habits. One's diet should include green leafy vegetables, eggs, milk, fish, cheese, nuts and fresh fruits to diminish the occurrence of leg cramps.
- To decrease the intensity of pain during and post a leg cramp, make sure to hold your leg as still as possible. It might be difficult to avoid movement when you are in agony. However, lesser the movement you make, shorter is the duration of leg cramps.
Sometimes the use of a wrong kind of footwear like high heels can also give rise to leg cramps. Buy a new pair of flat shoes or sandals and check whether there is any difference. Follow these remedies regularly and you would surely experience freedom from the unbearable pain that accompanies muscle cramps.