Nocturnal (Nighttime) Leg Cramps
Here we discuss the causes, and possible treatment and prevention for Nocturnal (nighttime) leg cramps.
Nighttime leg cramps are common among children and adults, however it is more common in adults and as people age they have a higher chance of experiencing them. Around half of the population over the age of 50 years experience nighttime leg cramps.
What causes nighttime leg cramps?
More often than not nighttime leg cramps have no identifiable cause, however some known causes can include:
- Sitting for too long in one position
- Walking or standing a lot on concrete floors
- Changes in your body's fluid balance, this can occur if you take diuretics, are on dialysis or sweat too much
- Certain medical conditions eg. Parkinson disease, diabetes or hypothyroidism
Should I seek medical treatment?
You should visit your doctor or mention to your Geriatrician if:
- You wake several time a night with leg cramps
- Your cramps keep you from getting enough sleep
- Your cramps are extremely painful
Possible treatment options for Nighttime Leg Cramps
Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better?
Yes, here is a list of possible remedies you can try:
- Stretching your calves regularly
- Drinking plenty of water, especially if you are taking diuretics (Seek approval from your GP before doing this)
- Wearing shoes with firm support
- Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake
Treatment options available
- Some supplements are beneficial in helping to reduce leg cramping, seek advice from your Doctor
- Some prescription medications are available to help improve sleep, relax muscles and calm overactive nerves. Doctors are able to prescribe these if other types of treatment does not work.