Leg cramps. I am sure everyone has experienced the unpleasantly painful feeling when you are falling asleep and suddenly the muscles of your calf become tight, hard, and painful.
NLC, or nocturnal leg cramps, are leg pains which appear during the night and can be so intense that they cause the person to suddenly wake up from sleep. And even though NLC most commonly happen when the person is sleeping, they may also occur during long periods of inactivity.
NLC generally happens to the calf muscles, but it may also spread to the thighs or feet. Leg cramps can be very painful because they create a sudden unpleasant feeling of knotting and tightening of the muscles.
This painful experience may last from a few seconds to several minutes, and it can happen both to adults over 50-years-old as well as to younger adults and children from both sexes.
So, what causes NLC to happen at night?
In most cases, NLC occur when the person has some of these lifestyle habits: slouching instead of sitting, poor body posture, over-extension of the muscles, standing for long periods of time, extended periods of sitting, or pregnancy.
Medical conditions that are linked with experiencing NLC are dehydration, alcoholism, kidney failure, metabolic problems, structural conditions (such as ‘flat feet’), neuromuscular disorders (for instance, myopathy, neuropathy, motor neuron disease), electrolyte disparities, or Parkinson’s disease.
Moreover, according to Mayo Clinic, if you experience leg cramps frequently it may be connected to muscle weakness or nerve problems.
How can you prevent them?
Dehydration is one of the main causes of your leg cramps. So, make sure to drink plenty of water during the day.
Also, make sure to stretch your leg muscles for few minutes before you go to sleep. Working out or riding a bike can help you too.
And if they happen, you can relieve them by taking a warm bath or shower, massaging the cramped muscle with an ice pack, standing up and walking, and lifting the cramped leg up while flexing the foot towards your head.
You can also take multivitamins, calcium channel blockers, and vitamin b-12 because they are said they can help you prevent leg cramps and relieve the pain.