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Nocturnal leg cramps are pains that usually occur in the legs, especially in the calf (gastrocnemius muscle) during the night while sleeping. They usually cause awakenings from sleep, but they may also occur while awake at night during periods of inactivity. These cramps are most often present 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, lasting for the rest of the night or even until the following day.
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:
Who gets nocturnal leg cramps?
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.
If leg cramps are frequent and severe, your medical physician may order lab work to ensure that there are no electrolyte imbalances.
When a nocturnal muscle cramp strikes it can nearly leave you paralyzed. Knowing how to properly handle an attack will offer you relief and leave you less sore afterwards. Here are some tips to better handle nocturnal leg cramps.
Treatment for nocturnal leg cramps depend on the cause. For example, if the cause of your nocturnal leg cramps is due to dehydration, ensure you stay well hydrated throughout the day. Other treatment and preventative methods for nocturnal leg cramps include:
7 Causes and Remedies for Foot Cramps and Charley Horses - Click here for Article
No. While both types of leg disturbances tend to happen at night while sleeping, or at rest, restless leg syndrome:
If known, always try to treat the underlying cause first. Vitamin E supplements or Vitamin B complex may helpful. Magnesium supplements have also shown some benefit, mostly in pregnant women. Diphenhydramine and calcium channel blockers may be suggested by your doctor. Quinine was previously used for the treatment of nocturnal leg cramps. However, due to its potential for serious and life-threatening adverse effects (cardiac arrhythmias, thrombocytopenia, and hypersensitivity reactions), it is no longer recommended as a treatment option.
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