Causes & Remedies of Muscle Cramps at Night or Other Times

Severe leg cramps at night

Muscle cramp is a common problem and there is hardly any particular age for the disease. It can happen to anyone else. Muscle cramps refer to sudden, involuntary, extremely painful and strong tightness or contraction of muscle. It usually lasts for a few seconds to several minutes. The problem generally affects legs. Cramps in muscle are also called a ‘Charley Horse’.

Severe leg cramps at night are caused due to sudden tightening or spasms. However, such nocturnal problems affect different muscular parts of the legs, apart from calves. It also happens on the foot or thigh. These are usually felt when you are sleeping or wake from slumber.

Let us now get to the facts that cause muscle cramps

It is really hard to figure out what causes cramps in calves. Many activities or conditions may cause such cramps and these are as follows:

  • Heavy exercises require overuse of muscles and it may cause cramps in muscles.
  • Cramps are common during pregnancy as amounts of several important minerals like potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg) etc drop during this phase.
  • Exposure to very cold water and weather can also cause muscle cramps.
  • If you stand long on a hard surface, you are likely to feel muscle cramps in legs. If you don’t maintain a good posture on your sleeping mattress, it will also lead to leg cramps. Sitting for a long time may also cause the problem.
  • Inadequate dietary intake of calcium, potassium and other minerals may also cause the problems.
  • If your body is drained out of much fluid (dehydration), muscle cramps are more likely to trouble you.
  • Muscle cramp is also linked to certain diseases affecting thyroid, kidney and peripheral artery.
  • You may also suffer severe muscle cramps due to regular intake of certain medicines like birth control pills, steroids, antipsychotics etc

Nocturnal Leg Cramps

Leg cramps sustained at night are referred to as nocturnal leg cramps. It happens when you are asleep or trying to catch sleep on bed. No apparent cause is found out in most of the cases though some problems are identified as the root causes of such involuntary contraction or tightness of muscles.

In general, nerve problems and muscle fatigue causes muscle cramps. Ageing steps up the chance of night leg cramps. The likelihood of frequent cramps in calves while sleeping also increases by manifolds during pregnancy, especially in its last phase.

Diabetic nerve damage and kidney failure also causes severe and frequent leg cramps. However, nocturnal leg cramp cannot be the only symptom of such health problems as there are other issues linked to these diseases.

Restless Legs Syndromes or RLS is often confused with nocturnal leg cramps though they are different. Pain is not the major symptom of RLS though some, who have experienced RLS, complain of excruciating pain.


Muscle Cramp Remedies

You can try out multiple ways to prevent muscle cramp. Here are those things to try out:

  • Stretch the muscle and gently message it.
  • Have a bath in warm water as it helps the muscles to relax. Alternatively, you can place a heating pad on the muscle.
  • An ice pack will also serve your purpose. However, you must not place the ice cube directly on the skin. Instead keep a cloth under the ice pack.
  • Flex your foot and take it up toward your head.
  • Walk or jiggle the leg
  • If pain is too acute to tolerate, take an over-the-counter painkiller.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration also causes muscle cramps.
  • If you have already consulted a doctor for problems of severe muscle cramps at night or other times, take the medicines as prescribed.

If the problem is happening frequently, it is very much important to consult a doctor instead of going for home remedies. Depleting levels of some minerals also cause the problems and that is why, medical tests may be recommended by the doctors to find out the actual cause of the cramps.

Some pain-killers are extremely harmful to health. Though they ensure immediate relief, still you must avoid those for temporary respite. Ageing persons and pregnant ladies should seek immediate consultation with doctors if the problem gets recurrent.

If you experience severe muscle cramp, visit the best of general physicians in Delhi rather than guessing the cause of it or taking any medicine. Acute muscle cramp may damage some body part or organ.