The pain that occurs during the night while sleeping is named legs cramp or nocturnal leg cramps. The pain can cause to wake up in the middle of the night, and the reason would be prolonged hours of inactivity. Commonly the pain occurs in the area in the calf, but can be also in the thighs and feet.

The duration of the pain is different sometimes can last few seconds and sometimes more even couple minutes. After the leg cramp passes, muscle soreness may linger for the rest of the night or even until the following day. Both men and women can experience leg cramps and they occur more commonly in adults over the age of 50.

Leg cramps at night, different from restless leg syndrome

Both nocturnal leg cramps and restless leg syndrome (RLS) occur during sleeping hours but that is the only similarity between the two conditions. There are many differences between leg cramps at night and restless leg syndrome, including:Moving the leg in RLS offers relief – moving the leg in nocturnal leg cramps does not, instead stretching is required.

RLS is more of a discomfort or crawling feeling in your legs.

RLS does not cause pain or cramping, while nocturnal leg cramps do.

RLS causes the desire to move the legs, while nocturnal leg cramps often prevent movement.

Causes and risk factors of leg cramps at night

The exact cause of nocturnal leg cramps is often unknown, but potential causes and risk factors of nightly leg cramps include:

Over-exertion of the muscles in the leg
Standing or working on concrete floors
Sitting for prolonged periods of time
Sitting improperly
Medical conditions, too, can contribute to nocturnal leg cramps, such as:
Structural disorders like flat feet
Endocrine disorders like diabetes
Diuretics, statins, beta agonists
Parkinson’s disease
Neuromuscular disorders
Treatment and prevention for nocturnal leg cramps

The treatment for leg cramps depends on what’s the cause for the cramps. For example if the reason is dehydration the solution is to stay well hydrated.

Ensure you are not deficient in magnesium or potassium – deficiencies in both minerals are linked to muscle cramping.

First stretch your legs before going to bed,
Do water exercises to build leg muscles.
Wear ergonomic shoes and avoid high heels.
Use horse chestnut, which has been shown to increase blood flow to the legs.
Take a relaxing, warm bath before going to sleep to ease any muscle tightness.
Apply a heating pad to the affected area.
Try acupuncture treatment to loosen tight leg muscles.

What to do when spasms happen

At the point when a nighttime muscle spasm strikes it can almost abandon you deadened. Knowing how to properly handle an attack will offer you relief and leave you less sore afterwards. Here are a few tips to better handle nighttime leg spasms.

While sitting on the floor amplify both legs in front you. Presently flex your feet at the lower legs and point your toes toward your knees – you might need to pull on your feet to obtain a better stretch out.

Get up gradually and stroll around a bit – shaking your legs can likewise enhance blood stream.
Delicately rub the region in a roundabout movement.
Guarantee covers and sheets are not sufficiently tight to make the leg muscle contract
Take a tablespoon of yellow mustard to diminish discomfort.