There’s no pain quite like that of a leg cramp during sleep. When you’re shaken from a dream to deal with the sharp, stabbing pain of a muscle spasm, it feels through the haze that there’s something seriously wrong. Usually, though, after a moment of distress, the cramp eases.
You’re not alone. As many as 60% of American adults share the nocturnal leg cramp experience. There are plenty of potential contributors that may cause leg cramps, but the precise reason why you experience these may not be identifiable.
Dr. Clement Banda of MD Vein & Skin Specialists urges you not to overlook venous insufficiency if your leg cramps are frequent and you have other risk factors, such as varicose veins. Below, we list five ways to manage recurring leg cramps. If these don’t produce results for you, it’s time for an exam by Dr. Banda.
5 ways to manage recurrent leg cramps
When a cramp strikes, you likely have a way of stretching your leg or standing to ease the cramp. While this gets you past the leg cramp, your night’s sleep may be ruined. The best solution would be to avoid the cramp in the first place. There are some things you can try that may reduce or eliminate your nighttime episodes.
One suspected cause of nocturnal leg cramps is dehydration. If you notice a connection between hot days and cramping nights, it may be a simple matter of upping your daily fluid intake to combat muscle spasms.
Drinking more water may help reduce leg cramps in one regard while raising another risk factor. Electrolyte shortages may contribute to cramps and increased water intake could dilute the supply of magnesium in your body. Add seeds, nuts, or a magnesium supplement to your diet to eliminate this potential cause.
Adding stretches and moderate activity to your day in the form of gentle exercise like swimming and walking to your daily routine stimulates the circulation of blood throughout your legs. This may reduce your chances of experiencing leg cramps at night. Be careful not to overdo it though. Muscle fatigue also contributes to nighttime cramping.
Hot compresses or warm baths can ease conditions that cause leg cramps. You can also add magnesium externally in the form of epsom salts to double the impact of a compress or bath.
Heating pads on the lowest settings that produce results may help through the night, but don’t use these if you have diabetes or other conditions that may affect your ability to accurately sense heat.
Some drugs generate leg cramps as a side effect. Review these medications with Dr. Banda to identify potential conflicts:
Certain antibiotics can add to leg cramp issues, as can a number of other medications. You may be able to substitute drugs in some instances if your leg cramp issues are major.
If home care doesn’t reduce your leg cramps sufficiently, call or click to book a consultation with MD Vein & Skin Specialists. Dr. Banda can rule out serious conditions and help you find the relief you need. Schedule your appointment now.