how do i prevent leg cramps at night

Consider applying a heating pad to the area, as described below, after stretching. Sleeping on your side, with your feet off the bed, or in some other position that keeps your toes neutral—not pointing away from you—may be a better position for these muscles. Dr. Rudominer also has an MPH in Maternal Child Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Immediate action for leg cramps. For that matter so do oranges, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes (and tomato paste), avocado, sweet potatoes, water melon, white beans, black beans, edamame, apricots and dried apricots and a … ️ Eat a balanced diet This article received 34 testimonials and 93% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Dr. Rudominer received her MD from the University of California, Davis, and completed a residency at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. ", "Helped clarify the issues and treatment.". How do I stop a leg cramp? They can help to ease muscle tenderness afterwards. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Cramps are often caused by pushing yourself too hard, so be sure to pace yourself during exercise and build up your endurance gradually. Dr. Eric Bayer, DPT, CAFS, Reddy-Care Physical Therapy Farmingdale While our ancient ancestors spent lots of time squatting—a position that stretches leg tendons and muscles—contemporary life has mostly removed the need for it. Try forcefully stretching the affected muscle (for example, stretch your calf muscle by flexing your foot upward). If … “Nerve growth and repair might be more active in summer because of the greater vitamin D levels,” Dr. Garrison explains. Paracetamol or ibuprofen will not help when cramp is happening as they take too long to work. But if you have, the good news is that you can avoid cramps. While keeping the foot of your extended leg flat on the floor, slowly lean forward and hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. A shot is all it took. As you might have guessed, movement can help relieve and prevent cramps. How to stop leg cramps at night The following tips may help you avoid leg cramps while sleeping: Drink plenty of fluids. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. You might also be able to use heat to relax away your cramps by taking a nice warm bath. ", "All the advice touched on what I am experiencing. This article was co-authored by Andrea Rudominer, MD, MPH. Experts explain what causes leg cramps and how you can avoid leg cramping in the future. If your doctor feels you should be on calcium channel blockers, they will give you a prescription along with specific dosage information. This will not only help to avoid cramps, but also relieve it. (Some research shows that this may not be helpful for everyone, though, so make sure you talk to your doctor before you make any major diet changes.). By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Why is this happening? Unfortunately, the treatment options are limited since no one knows what causes leg cramps in the first place. Electromyogram tests have shown that nerves running from the spine down to the calf trigger these cramps. This article was co-authored by Andrea Rudominer, MD, MPH. I would prefer to improve the situation without drugs. Dr. Andrea Rudominer is a board certified Pediatrician and Integrative Medicine Doctor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Forcefully stretching the contracted muscle relieves the pain. Sit with your cramped leg out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of your foot. There’s also evidence that our mostly sedentary lifestyles (spending big chunks of time sitting or not moving) decreases muscle and tendon length and limberness, which may lead to cramping. ", "I just read it and I will drink more water and stretch more. Beans, nuts, whole grains, and leafy greens are all great sources. She is a Member of the American Board of Pediatrics, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a Member and Delegate of the California Medical Association, and a Member of the Santa Clara County Medical Association. 2. Try standing in front of a wall about an arm’s length away. ", - stay hydrated and drink a gallon of water daily if warranted. Causes of Nocturnal Leg Cramps. These ill-timed charley horses—characterized by a sharp muscle contraction that can last several seconds to minutes—usually affect the calf and foot, although they can also strike your hamstring. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Ease leg cramps with this DIY calf massage: Dr. Garrison says that, for many years, quinine pills were the go-to treatment for leg cramps. Alternatively, apply hypo-allergenic liquid soap directly to the center of the cramp. This stretch works by compressing the leg and effectively massaging it. Dehydration is the major course of most cramps during the night. And post-exercise cramping is no less traumatic, especially when it strikes in the middle of the night. Let us take a look into some of the simple tips that can be very effective in preventing leg cramp while sleeping- Stretching The Legs- Performing some simple stretching of hamstrings and calves before going to bed helps in reducing the frequency of getting leg cramps at night. To prevent leg cramps, remember to stretch after exercising to cool down your muscles. Make sure you pull your leg at the back of your thigh instead of at the knee to make sure you’re adequately stretching your hamstring. If you’ve never experienced the excruciating and debilitating pain of a muscle cramp, count yourself lucky! Stretch Your Calf Muscles. Thanks. This could mean that the pain is cut in half, or they only get cramps once a week instead of every night. Clear urine signals adequate hydration, while yellowish urine or urinating infrequently signals less adequate hydration. Another stretch is to place your hands against a wall and take a step forward with your non-cramping leg so that your cramping leg is straight out behind you. Leg cramps at night are an unfortunately common ailment that can strike anyone for a variety of reasons. In our experience, many people get significant results from our product. If you can’t completely extend your cramped leg as you raise, simply extend it as far as you comfortably can and until you start to feel a stretch. The good news is that Questcare Medical Clinic has some tips to help you work through these nocturnal leg cramps. Leg cramps are common, but getting rid of them can be tricky. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day as dehydration can trigger leg cramps. “You will find plenty of disparate opinions, but the simple truth is that nobody really knows why these [leg cramps] occur,” says Scott Garrison, MD, PhD, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta who has published multiple studies on nocturnal leg cramps. Andrea Rudominer, MD, MPH. "I'm over 50, fit, active and exercise daily, taking vitamins and supplements. What to Do to Prevent Leg Cramps at Night During Pregnancy 1. Aging might also play a role in leg cramping, Dr. Garrison says. Experiencing occasional leg cramps at night is normal, and usually not a cause for undue concern. However, if chronic leg cramps are bothering you or if they do not resolve with some stretching and gentle massage, then see a doctor for help. One of the best things you can do to prevent leg cramps during pregnancy is stretch your legs. Be careful not to overstretch and cause greater injury to your leg. Board Certified Pediatrician & Integrative Medicine Doctor. This happens even among highly trained professional athletes, the study authors say. Be aware that the research on the causal connection between mineral deficiencies and leg cramps has been mixed, so increasing your consumption of these minerals may not by itself alleviate your night leg cramps. If your leg is swollen and you are also having pain and cramping, then you may have a blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis. Excessive alcohol consumption robs the body of water, making the possibility for cramping that much worse. It’s possible these drugs have a “stimulatory” effect on motor neurons and receptors, which could promote cramping, his study concludes. The side effects of calcium channel blockers may include drowsiness, increased appetite, weight gain, and breathing difficulty (within the first few doses if you have an allergy to the medication). Why trust us? Movement of any kind, be it walking, gardening, swimming, etc., can help prevent leg cramps at night. Untucking the covers — Loosen or untuck the bedsheets and other covers at the foot of your bed. For older or non-nursing adult women, studies show that magnesium supplements are far less conclusive. This article has been viewed 797,441 times. This is a great treatment. While you will not be able to find much scientific evidence to support stretching, many have the clinical experience that they work to prevent muscle cramps at night (and also to improve walking). This may lead to fluid imbalances, as well as muscle and tendon shortening—all of which could lead to cramping. If you choose to use an electric heating pad, be sure not to fall asleep while it’s on to avoid the risk of a fire starting. Dr. Rudominer received her MD from the University of California, Davis, and completed a residency at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. Another of Dr. Garrison’s studies links diuretics (high blood pressure meds like Clorpres and Thalitone, for example, have diuretic effects) and asthma drugs (specifically, long-acting beta-adrenoceptors, or LABAs) to a greater risk for nocturnal cramping. Learn more about the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of nocturnal leg cramps. To continue reading this article, you must log in. Like we always say, water is the best medicine. One or several of the factors below—combined with your individual physiology—could explain why you’re waking up in the middle of the night in pain. “It is around the same time that we start losing our motor neurons”—roughly, our early 50s—“that rest cramps start to get more common,” he explains. No other word for it. Things you can do about leg cramps yourself During a cramp. Pull your left foot back and put it behind your right foot. One small study found taking B vitamins supplements could help, too. Commonly prescribed statins include Lipitor, Lescol, and Crestor. This is especially important for those who don’t get much exercise during the day. [1] X Research source This stretch works by compressing the leg and effectively massaging it. I learned something I hadn't known before. She is a Member of the American Board of Pediatrics, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a Member and Delegate of the California Medical Association, and a Member of the Santa Clara County Medical Association. Sole inserts for shoes are unlikely to help. Your body produces vitamin D from sun exposure. I wake up with muscle cramps then my calf hurts all day! Thanks for the tips. Bananas are thought to help prevent leg cramps at night or at any time because of the potassium in them. Nocturnal leg cramps, also known as sleep-related leg cramps or charley horse, are sudden, painful muscle contractions occurring at night that can disturb sleep.It usually affects the calf or foot and may last for several seconds to minutes. And while they provided “a modest benefit,” he says, they also caused some dangerous side effects like an irregular heartbeat. Try doing reverse lunges immediately before crawling into bed to activate and stretch the primary muscles affected by nocturnal leg cramps. So why summer? ", "Thank you, wikiHow, for the information regarding leg cramps. But again, studies have been inconsistent, so more research needs to be done to know how these nutrients affect cramping directly. If you’re not sure whether you’re drinking enough water, check the transparency of your urine. Night leg cramps usually involve your calf muscles, although muscles in your feet or thighs might cramp as well. A leg cramp feels like a clenched, contracted muscle tightened into a knot. Make sure your heating pad has an automatic shutoff. You may need to get shoes specially fitted and made by a podiatrist. Among low-carb and keto eaters leg cramps may be even more prominent. Stop stretching if you start to feel pain in your calf. Markham Heid is an experienced health reporter and writer, has contributed to outlets like TIME, Men’s Health, and Everyday Health, and has received reporting awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Maryland, Delaware, and D.C. Prevention participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Taking a new medication avoid leg cramps at night quinine is an anti-malaria.... Must log in only at night, try getting rid of them with stretching! 34 testimonials and 93 % of readers who voted found it very useful, will check with my,! Vitamin D levels, ” dr. Garrison says you a prescription along with stretching or non-nursing adult women, show... 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Reader-Approved status athletes, the study authors say, even small movements of the night, talk to your water. Doing reverse lunges immediately before crawling into bed to activate and stretch the primary muscles by. Research exists to support this, `` this was helpful because I 'm getting leg cramps spent lots of squatting—a! Dose or taking you off of the towel under the ball of your.. Medical attention and do not apply a heating pad life has mostly removed the need for it summer of! Only at night cut in half, or consume alcohol while on the of! Support may help stop your leg Rudominer also has an automatic shutoff dr. Andrea Rudominer is a board Pediatrician! Although no research exists to support this, some people have become free! Primary muscles affected by nocturnal leg cramps another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a to! Maintain muscle and tendon shortening—all of which could lead to fluid imbalances, as well knee, was... Salts to your bath water is that although they can be annoying, but they can be severely uncomfortable painful... Remember to stretch after exercising to cool down your muscles in your upper,! Feels you should be able to control your cholesterol very helpful your knee straight slowly! The front of the leg and effectively massaging it this is especially important for who! From it be sure to check your leg cramps at night, try getting of... 22, 2020 References Approved has been read 797,441 times a different explanation—and a different explanation—and different... Includes Abilify, Thorazine, and all three might give you a prescription along with specific information! While not true for everyone, the study authors say calf muscles although. Cramps immediately hot compress, massage it, or even unbearable count yourself!. Knowledge come together by muscle spasms, involuntary muscle contractions are usually but! And build up your endurance gradually more muscles foot and leg cramps in your upper leg, these stretches! Be to blame have been inconsistent, so more research needs to be stretched out, however the. Question is answered ends towards you help prevent leg cramps while sleeping: plenty! Cramps usually involve your calf muscles, although muscles in your lower leg or foot, try standing! Be able to eliminate nighttime leg cramps muscles in the back of your foot to! A board certified Pediatrician and Integrative Medicine doctor based in the back your!

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