Leg cramps at night

A leg cramp is a kind of pain that comes from a muscle in the leg. The leg cramp is due to a muscle spasm which is when a muscle contracts too hard. It generally occurs in one of the calf muscles, below and behind a knee. The small muscles of the feet are from time to time affected. A cramp pain naturally lasts a few minutes. In some cases it lasts just for seconds, but in some cases it can last up to 10 minutes and then the severity of the pain may vary. The muscle may stay tender for up to 24 hours after a leg cramp. Leg cramps generally occur when you are resting most commonly at night when in bed. These leg cramps may wake you up from sleep. It can become a distressing condition if your sleep is most often disturbed. Many people have an infrequent leg cramp. However, they take place frequently in some people. These leg cramps are more familiar in older people. About 1 in 3 people over the age of 60, and about half of people over the age of 80 have usual leg cramps. About 4 in 10 people who have leg cramps have at slightest three per week. They take place every day in some cases.

Causes of leg cramps

In most cases the reason of leg cramp is not known. One theory is that cramps take place when a muscle that is already in a shortened position is stimulated to contract. As the muscle is already shortened, to contract further may lead to the muscle to go into spasm. This regularly happens at night in bed as the natural position we lie in is with the knees slightly bent, and with feet pointing slightly downwards. In this position the calf muscle is somewhat shortened and prone to cramps. This theory explains why stretching exercises might cure the problem. With the above conditions the cramps would just is one of several other symptoms. Therefore, if you are otherwise well, and have no other unexplained symptoms, then the leg cramps are probable to be idiopathic.

Treatment for leg cramps

Stretching and massaging in the affected muscle can generally relieve an attack of cramp. Most cramps soon relieve off. Painkillers are not generally helpful for a sudden attack of cramp. However, a painkiller such as Paracetamol may help to relieve muscle discomfort and tenderness that sometimes persists for up to 24 hours after a cramp has gone. If cramps do not take place often, then no particular treatment is usually needed. However, if you have cramps most often, you may wish to consider ways of preventing them.

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