Cramps at Night: Causes, Treatment and Prevention
May 10,2022 | FIT KING
Muscle cramps also known as “Charley Horse”, are painful involuntary contraction of muscles that in most cases makes it impossible to temporarily use the affected muscles. Most muscle cramps develop in the leg area, especially the calf. It will present as a sharp pain or a hard lump in the muscle beneath the skin. Due to this sharp pain that cannot be ignored, the quality of life of the individual experiencing them will be greatly affected. It will often cut short someone’s sleep or exercise routines which are currently part of the day-to-day.
Leg cramps mostly happen when the body is not active and this is mostly at night, when people tend to relax, 75% of all reported muscle cramps have occurred at night
Causes of Muscle Cramps
- Physical Strain: Overly done exercise will eventually overuse the muscle and it will often lead to leg cramps.
- Dehydration: This mostly happens while exercising, working out or taking part in activities in hot weather, without proper hydration will often lead to muscle cramp more specifically leg cramps. This mostly occurs with athletes taking part on hot weather sports.
- Inadequate blood circulation: Due to the narrowing of the blood vessels from the cholesterol and other fats that accumulate in the walls of the arteries causing a plaque to form, which will eventually enlarge and harden. As the plaque will restrict the flow of blood to your muscles, this will lead to cramps. Holding a position for too long will also block or effectively lessen the blood being supplied to your extremities which will lead to numbness or cramps as the flow of oxygen through the blood will be temporarily cut off. In many cases, the leg cramps will cease if the flow of blood is restored to the affected area.
- Medication: On the rare occasion some medication prescribed by medical practitioners E.g, Diuretics often prescribed to patients suffering from hypertension, will deplete vitally. Minerals in the body like Magnesium (Mg), Potassium (K), Sodium (Na) and Calcium (Ca). Calcium helps in the contraction of muscles and patients experiencing lowered calcium levels will more often than not develop a condition called Tetani, where the muscles fibres contract continuously, translated as painful leg cramps.
Prevention of leg cramps
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is characterized by a nearly irresistible urge to move the legs. Both RLS and legs cramps are nocturnal diseases that afflict the legs, although RLS is relatively painless, it greatly affects sleep and progresses with age which is similar to leg cramps. The treatment plan for both these diseases is three-pronged:
- Change of lifestyle: This can be done by reducing the amount of caffeine one consumes, stopping smoking if one used it before. Always wear loose clothing before bed.
Exercise is a key factor in lifestyle changes, increased fitness will make you less prone to experience muscle cramps. While you are at it ensure you properly hydrate, energy drinks such as Energade and Powerade have been infused with electrolytes that replenish the ones lost to sweat during the workout, they can be taken during the workout or during the cool down.
- Therapy: This particular approach can be used both in prevention and in treatment. Before you sleep it is advisable to stretch your muscles that have undergone some strain through the day. This can be done by the use of simple exercises that will relax the muscles or a more high tech path which will encompass the use of items that are specifically engineered to relax the targeted muscles both swiftly and effectively like:
- Compression Calf Massager with heat FT-017A: This is a heating effective massager that will warm up you calves, promoting blood circulation and reduce any kind of swelling, thus greatly reducing the risk of cramps and RLS. It has 2x2 airbags inside it that will stimulate and kneading like motion that will help alleviate fatigue. It also has different levels of intensities for every occasion, to meet your personalized requirements. With its adjustable strap, it can fit whatever leg size, so it can be used by people of all ages.
- Leg and Foot Compression Massager FT-009A: It massages your feet and calves in ascending order, to help relieve fatigue, improve blood circulation, reduce edema and effectively reduce RLS. It is remote controlled, thus you can personalize the intensity level of the massage you require at a given time. It is powered by a universal adapter DC12A/1A and it’s a one size fits all and can be used anywhere anytime, it’s simply a gift that keeps on giving.
- Full Leg Air Compression Massager FT-012A: It has 3+3 airbags that massage your feet, calves and thighs. With its varied intensity levels, you can switch them up to what perfectly fits the day that you have had light for the calm days and tight for the really back-breaking days. Its designed to increase circulation in the calves and thighs, soothes sore muscles and removes lactic acid build-up effectively reducing the pain it caused by the build-up. It helps prevent cramps and RLS by treating the sore muscles before the contractions begin. It’s the perfect personalized gift for anyone.
Treatment of leg cramps.
To treat the leg cramps once they have manifested you can:
- Stretch the muscle by standing with your foot flat on the floor and pressing down on it firmly or by also grabbing your toes and pulling them towards you.
- Try massaging the muscle by the use of your bare hands or tool and devices specifically made for soothing muscles like: The Full Leg Air Compression Massager FT-012A, the Leg and Foot Compression Massager FT-009A, and the Compression Calf Massager with heat FT-017A.
- You can also take a warm bath to relax your muscles.