While they may be short-lived, muscle cramps are extremely painful. Anyone who has ever had a “charley horse” in their leg or the similar cramp that occurs in the toes, knows exactly why this is a problem to be avoided as much as possible. If you have recurring leg cramps, there could be an underlying cause that might benefit from therapies and treatments through Advance Health and Wellness.
Muscle cramps are painful, intense contractions (or tightening) of a muscle which happen suddenly and can last from a couple of seconds to many minutes. Legs are one of the most common sights of these camps. Often, people experience leg cramps at night. These are usually spasms of muscles in the calf area that come on suddenly. Cramps can also occur in the foot or thigh, though this happens less often. Many times people have leg cramps as they are drifting to sleep or when they first wake up in the morning. The cause of this is generally unknown, though it may have some correlation to lying down.
Like all muscle cramps, cramps in the legs have a few possible causes, such as:
- Injury, exercising, or excessive of the muscles.
- Being pregnant, because of the decrease in mineral presence, such as magnesium or calcium, due to sharing them with the baby, more often in the last trimester.
- Cold water or temperature exposure.
- Medical conditions like those that cause problems with blood flow, such as: peripheral arterial, thyroid, or kidney disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Lack of the right amount of potassium, calcium, or other minerals in your bloodstream.
- Standing on hard surfaces or sitting for a long time, or putting your legs in unusual positions while sleeping.
- Lack of enough fluid in your body, or dehydration.
- Taking medications such as antipsychotics, steroids, diuretics, birth control pills, or statins.
Leg cramps can happen to anyone, but if you are experiencing them chronically, it could be a symptom of a larger problem, like restless leg syndrome.
There are definitely things that you can do in the midst of a cramp to offer some relief, like walking or shaking it out, or flexing the muscle around. Preventing muscle cramps in your legs can be achieved to a degree by staying hydrated, stretching after exercise, avoiding alcohol, taking nutritional supplements, riding a bicycle, and stopping the use of medications you believe may be causing your cramps. Eating healthily and getting lots of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium can also greatly reduce your frequency of leg cramps.
While there are many things that can be done for cramping legs on your own, some people experience them frequently enough to want some form of lasting solution. It may also not be clear why you are getting such frequent cramps. Doctors will sometimes prescribe muscle relaxers to keep the muscles from contracting in recurring cases, but those medications have many of their own undesirable side effects. If you would like to discuss alternate therapies and treatments that may help your reoccurring leg cramps, schedule a consultation with us today.