If you get nocturnal leg cramps, we don’t need to tell you how uncomfortable these leg pains can be. One minute you’re sleeping soundly and the next you’re jerked awake with aching pain in one or both of your legs. These cramps can keep you up for hours, completely disrupting your sleep and preparing you for a less-than-pleasant day ahead.
Thankfully, there are ways to treat and prevent these painful leg cramps – and most treatments you can do yourself, right at home! But before you go about treating your leg cramps, it’s important to know what these cramps are and why they happen to you.
WHAT ARE NOCTURNAL LEG CRAMPS?
Nocturnal leg cramps, as their name would suggest, are pains in the legs that occur only (or most frequently) at nighttime. These pains are the tightening of the leg muscles. Usually, the calf muscle is the muscle in question, but often the thighs and feet are affected as well.
Pain will typically last from several seconds to several minutes, and more severe cases will have close to an hour of pain. Often there is soreness after the muscle cramp.
Leg cramps affect men and women equally and most commonly happen to people over 50.
WHAT CAUSES LEG CRAMPS?
While the direct cause of each case of leg cramping may go unknown, there are potential causes that you may be doing in your day-to-day life, such as:
- Sitting for prolonged periods of time
- Over-exertion of the muscles for a long period of time
- Standing or working on concrete floors
- Sitting improperly (sitting with poor posture)
Leg cramps can also occur because of pre-existing medical conditions, such as:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Neuromuscular disorders
Even structural disorders, like having flat feet, can be the culprit behind your nighttime leg cramps.