Leg cramps are sudden and involuntary contractions of one or more muscles which most commonly appear throughout the night period, while you are sleeping. The cramps cause unbearable pain that awakens you.
The main cause for night leg cramps is prolonged hours of inactivity of your body. At most people, the leg cramps occur in the calf, but still they can cause a lot of pain in the thighs and feet. You simply cannot know how long the pain will last. Sometimes the cramps last just few seconds, while sometimes can last up few minutes.
Sometimes, you may feel soreness in your muscle during the entire night or even the following day after the cramps have passed.
The night leg cramps appear at both men and women and are most likely to appear in people over 50. Still, even younger people experience pain caused by cramps during the night.
Restless leg syndrome also known as RLS also appear while you are sleeping.
At this point it is important to explain that these two conditions are quite different: RLS causes discomfort or crawling feeling in the legs and by moving your leg while RLS you will experience relief, while by moving the leg in nocturnal leg cramps you will not. In addition to that, the RLS causes discomfort or crawling feeling in your legs, while RLS does not cause pain or cramping, etc.
Although the precise cause for nocturnal leg cramps still isn’t known, there are some potential risk factors, causes or even medical conditions which often lead to them:
- Sitting improperly
- Standing or working on concrete floors
- Sitting for prolonged periods of time
- Diuretics, statins, beta agonists
- Over-exertion of the muscles in the leg
- Structural disorders like flat feet
- Parkinson’s disease
- Endocrine disorders like diabetes
- Neuromuscular disorders
The cramps are very painful and uncomfortable. When they appear, the person who suffers from them feels virtually paralyzed.
Next time you start experiencing cramps, our suggestion is to try this trick: sit on the floor and extend both legs. After that, flex your feet at the ankles and try to point your toes toward your knees. Then, get up and walk around or gently massage the area in which you feel pain. This will provide you a great relief almost instantly!