Many people experience leg cramps at night. This can be caused by a lack of calcium, but it may also be because of other factors such as potassium and magnesium levels, the position you sleep in, how tired you are, the temperature, and your overall health. Let’s look at 5 causes of leg cramps and 3 tricks you can use to stop the pain quickly.
1. Calcium deficiency
If you are deficient in calcium, you may experience muscle cramps and spasms. This is because calcium helps muscles contract and relax. Without calcium, the muscles cannot maintain their normal tone, which can lead to aches, cramps, spasms, and muscle weakness.
2. Sleeping position
Nighttime leg cramps may be related to foot position. We often sleep with our feet and toes pointing away from the rest of our bodies. This position called plantar flexion shortens the calf muscles, making them more susceptible to cramping.
If you cover yourself with heavy bedding, it may stop blood from flowing back to your lower limbs. This can cause acidic metabolites to accumulate and lead to calf cramps.
3. Too tired
Overexertion of the body, such as after high-intensity exercise or excessive exercise, can lead to continuous muscle contraction in a short period. This anaerobic exercise of the muscles produces a lot of acidic metabolites, and the accumulation can stimulate calf cramps.
4. Too cold or too hot
If your muscles are too cold, or if it’s too hot outside and you’re sweating a lot, you can lose a lot of magnesium and potassium. This can cause an imbalance in your body that might make it easier for you to get muscle cramps.
Cramps may occur when there is a decline in liver function, when you have hypothyroidism, parathyroidism, motor neuron disease, and when you take certain blood pressure and lipid-lowering medications.
Next, let’s look at 3 ways you can quickly relieve the pain from leg cramps.
Many people have felt sudden cramps in their legs. The pain feels like “ants crawling” to that of electrocution when gradually amplified. If you do not relieve it, the pain can last as long as a few minutes. This makes people sweat, grit their teeth, and curl up their bodies. However, the cramps can be relieved by following these 3 tips to help you soothe the muscles quickly.
1. Hot compress
If you have a leg cramp, use a hot towel to help reduce the pain. You can then massage the area to further relieve the leg cramp.
Many people’s first reaction to leg cramps is to bend their legs, but this practice will intensify the pain. The correct approach should be to straighten the leg or stand straight up immediately. If you cannot act on your own, you can also seek someone else to stretch your big toe with your hands.
3. Feet facing opposite each other
When the leg cramps, you can place your two feet facing opposite each other. This can also play the role of stretching and relieving leg cramps.
Besides getting more calcium to prevent cramps, it is also important to pay attention to sleeping posture and avoid fatigue, as well as to consider whether the cramps are caused by disease and give timely treatment to avoid causing further deterioration and other critical problems.