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why do you get leg cramps at night

What are nocturnal leg cramps? Nocturnal leg cramps are pains that occur in the legs during the night. They usually cause awakenings from sleep, but they may also occur while awake at night during periods of inactivity. These cramps mostly happen in the calf muscles but can also occur in the thighs or feet. Nocturnal leg cramps are quite painful and cause the affected muscles to feel tight or knotted. Symptoms may last from several seconds up to several minutes. There might also be muscle soreness after the cramp goes away. Nocturnal leg cramps are more common in adults over age 50, but they also do occur in younger adults and children. Both men and women seem to be equally affected. Who gets nocturnal leg cramps? Anyone can get these types of cramps. However, they tend to be found more often in people who are middle-aged or older. Are nocturnal leg cramps the same as restless legs syndrome? No. While both types of leg disturbances tend to happen at night, or at rest,
does not cause pain or cramping. Restless legs syndrome is more of a discomfort, or a crawling sensation, that results in a desire to move the legs. While moving, the restlessness is relieved, but the discomfort returns when movement stops. This does not happen with nocturnal leg cramps where the tightened muscle needs to be actively stretched out for relief. What causes nocturnal leg cramps? The cause of nocturnal leg cramps is often times unknown, but some cases have been linked to: Nocturnal leg cramps have also been linked to certain medical conditions and medications.

These include: Neuromuscular disorders (, motor neuron disease) Structural disorders ( Endocrine disorders (, statins, beta agonists Leg cramps, or charley horses, are a common problem that affect the feet, calves, and thigh muscles. They involve sudden, painful involuntary contractions of a leg muscle. They often occur while a person is sleeping or resting. They can be gone in a few seconds, but the average duration is. They can leave tenderness in the muscle for up to 24 hours after. In most cases the reason for leg cramps is never found, and they are considered harmless. Sometimes, however, they may be linked to an underlying disorder, such as or. In most cases, there is no underlying cause and the reason why cramps happen is unclear. They are thought to be caused by muscle and nerve dysfunction, but exactly how they happen is unclear. It that the way we sleep, with the foot stretched out and the calf muscles shortened, may trigger night cramps. Another theory is that cramps are more likely nowadays, as people no longer squat, a position that stretches the calf muscles. Exercise is one factor. Stressing or using a muscle for a long time may trigger a leg cramp during or after the exertion. Cramps often affect athletes, especially at the start of a season, if the body is out of condition. Nerve damage may play a role. Dehydration is a role. Athletes who exercise strenuously in hot weather often experience cramps. However, there is a to confirm this, and the theory has been disputed. Athletes who play in cool climates also get cramps, after all.

Sometimes the leg cramps are caused by an underlying condition, situation or activity. , or an underactive thyroid sarcoidosis, a disease in which small growths or lumps produce oral pregnancy, especially in the later stages use of some medications, including intravenous iron sucrose, conjugated estrogens, naproxen, raloxifene, and teriparatide Cramps have been linked to electrolysis imbalances, but reseach these theories. Older people are to experience leg cramps. Muscle loss starts from the mid-40s and increases if the person is not active. This increases the risk of cramps. Between of adults and 7 percent of children are believed to experience cramps, and the likelihood increases with age. They are more common during pregnancy. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) applying heat to muscles that are tight or tense (heat packs are Some people use supplements, such as to reduce muscle cramps, but a review published in 2012 older adults were unlikely to benefit from this treatment, and that it was unclear whether they would benefit women during pregnancy. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that mild exercise just before bedtime, such as a few minutes on a stationary bike or treadmill, may help. No medication is recommended for cramps. If a severe cramp leaves a muscle feeling tender, an over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller may help. Quinine has been used in the past, but it is no longer recommended, according to recommendations the American Family Physician (AFP). The FDA issued a warning in 2010 about potentially dangerous interactions and side effects.

There is limited evidence that exercise and stretching, channel blockers, carisoprodol, and B-12 may help. Multivitamins may be of some use during pregnancy. There is that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( ), calcium, or are of any benefit. If there is no underlying cause, the leg cramps will probably get better without treatment. Stretching exercises may help. Straighten the leg and pull the toes up toward the knee, to stretch the calf muscle. Walk on tiptoes for a few minutes. Stand about one meter from a wall with your feet flat on the ground. Lean forward against the wall with your arms outstretched and your hands flat on the wall. Keep the heels on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, then gently return to an upright position. Repeat five to ten times. These exercises may help relieve cramp and also prevent future episodes, if they are done two or three times a day. The following measures may also help prevent leg cramps. Supporting your toes when lying down or asleep by propping up the feet with a pillow or letting the feet hang over the edge of the bed. Keeping bedding loose to help prevent the feet and toes from pointing downward during sleep. Wearing suitable footwear, especially if you have flat feet and other foot problems. Keeping fit by getting enough exercise can help. If you exercise, make sure your program is suitable and that your progress is gradual. Avoid overexertion and training for prolonged periods, and always remember to warm up before you start.

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