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What vitamin helps with leg cramps: 3 best supplements for muscle cramps

3 best supplements for muscle cramps

Approximately 60 percent of adults experience these oftentimes painful involuntary contractions, according to the Medical University of South Carolina. Additionally, the rate of cramping tends to increase with age.

Medline adds that the muscles that cramp the most are typically located in the thighs and feet, hands and arms, abdomen, and along the ribcage. The majority of the time these cramps are brought on by overuse.

However, nerve compression, dehydration, low electrolyte levels, reduced blood supply to the muscle, pregnancy, certain medications, and dialysis can all cause muscles to tense as well.

Though muscle cramps are typically harmless and usually go away on their own, Medline indicates that stretching, massage, heat, and increasing fluids can sometimes help. So too can supplements. Here are three to consider based on scientific research.

1.Vitamin B complex

The human body needs a variety of B vitamins for maximum cellular health, proper brain and nerve function, enhanced cardiovascular wellbeing, and normal hormone production according to Healthline. B vitamins also aid in increasing energy levels, improving eyesight, and healthier digestion.

Taking a
vitamin B complex — a supplement containing B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3
(niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid),
and B12 (cobalamin) — can help with all of these functions. But research has
also found that it can potentially help with muscle cramps.

In a 2010 assessment published in the journal Neurology, researchers reviewed 24 trials involving muscle cramp treatments. They noted that, in at least one Class II study — which the Evidence-Based Spine-Care Journal explains means that the study has a moderately low risk of bias — vitamin B complex was found to help treat these cramps.

2. Magnesium

Research published in BMC Family Practice reports that approximately one in three adults
over the age of 50 have nocturnal leg cramps lasting anywhere from a few
seconds to 10 minutes in length. These nighttime leg cramps often cause intense
pain, typically in the calf or foot, resulting in sleep issues and distress as
well.

Some studies have found that magnesium can potentially ease these types of cramps. One such study was published in Medical Science Monitor. At some points during the study, participants were given 300 mg of magnesium for their nocturnal cramps; other times they received a control, keeping a diary to note their cramp durations and severities along the way.

After six
weeks it was determined that, after receiving actual magnesium, 78 percent of
the study subjects reported an improvement in cramping. This compares to just 54
percent reporting some level of improvement after taking a placebo.

Research has also connected oral magnesium
with the relief of leg cramps occurring during pregnancy. Healthline adds that magnesium has other
benefits for expecting mothers as well, such as potentially reducing fetal
growth restriction and preterm birth.

3. Zinc

Medical News Today explains that zinc benefits the body
in several ways. This includes supporting healthy immune system function,
improving learning and memory, maximizing wound healing processes, decreasing
age-related health conditions, and improving fertility. Research has also found
that this nutrient can possibly help ease specific types of muscle cramps.

For
instance, a 2000 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition
involved 12 cirrhotic patients who experienced muscle cramps at least three
times per week, typically in their calves, feet, and hands. After receiving 220
mg BID of zinc sulfate for 12 weeks, 10 of the 12 patients reported improvement
with regard to their muscle cramps. Seven of these indicated that their cramps
went away completely.

Zinc has
also been found beneficial if the cramping is menstruation-related. An article in Medical Hypotheses
states that up to three 30 mg doses of zinc taken daily for one to four days
before menses can help prevent menstrual cramping. However, it is unclear if
this response is due to this nutrient’s impact on prostaglandins or if it is
because it acts an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory for the uterus.

Safe supplement use

Before
taking any of these supplements in an attempt to ease muscle cramps, the National Center for Complementary and
Integrative Health (NCCIH)
warns that some dietary supplements can interact with prescription medication.
They can also increase risk of complications regarding certain medical
procedures.

Plus, some
supplements contain ingredients that aren’t listed on the label according to
the NCCIH, while others make illegal claims, violating governmental standards
and putting consumers at risk of developing medical issues due to supplement
use.

For reasons
such as these, the NCCIH recommends that individuals speak with their healthcare
providers prior to taking supplements before surgery. It also suggests that if
supplements are taken, that they be taken as instructed on the product label.

Finally,
because many supplements have not been adequately tested for pregnant women,
nursing mothers, and children, care should be taken when using them in these
situations.

Is there hope for leg cramp sufferers?

Despite the lack of a universally recognized therapy for nighttime leg cramps, a few approaches may be worth trying.


Image: Monkey Business Images/Thinkstock

Few things are more jarring to a night’s sleep than shooting calf pains. If you have nocturnal leg cramps, you have lots of company. Although they can strike people at any time of life, they become more common with age. Among people over 60, almost half report having leg cramps, a third say they are awakened by cramps at night, and 15% report weekly episodes.

What causes leg cramps?

Preventing cramps

There are no FDA-approved medications for leg cramps, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force hasn’t issued guidelines for treating them. However, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has issued the following advice on common therapies, based on scientific evidence of effectiveness.

Stretching exercises. The AAN says that there are not enough data to say for sure that stretching helps reduce the frequency of muscle cramps. That doesn’t mean that the exercises are ineffective or harmful, and doing them can help contribute to the flexibility of your legs.

Quinine. There is solid evidence that quinine and quinine derivatives are effective in reducing the frequency of muscle cramps, although the magnitude of benefit is small. However, quinine is out-of-bounds for most people. The FDA has issued repeated warnings against using quinine (which is approved only to treat certain types of malaria) to prevent or treat leg cramps because it may cause serious side effects, including bleeding and kidney damage. Although doctors can still prescribe quinine, it is recommended only when cramps are disabling and when the person can be carefully monitored for side effects.

Vitamin B complex. There is some evidence that taking a daily capsule containing eight B vitamins—B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12—may prevent cramps.

Calcium-channel blockers. Evidence indicates that one calcium-channel blocker—diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor XR)—is possibly effective.

Ineffective therapies. The AAN found enough evidence to indicate that magnesium supplements and gabapentin (Neurontin) aren’t likely to help.

Other remedies

In situations like nighttime leg cramps, where there are no widely accepted treatments, unproven remedies may be worth a try. The following are low-risk and have enthusiastic proponents.

  • Soap. If you don’t mind sharing the bed with a bar of soap, you might want to try securing one under the bottom sheet near where your legs usually rest. Despite scores of testimonials to its effectiveness in letters to news media and comments on websites, no one has offered a hypothesis for how soap might work. Yet it’s inexpensive and harmless.

  • Mustard or pickle juice. Swallowing a teaspoon of mustard or an ounce of pickle juice before bedtime also has enthusiastic advocates. In fact, the pickle juice preventive has become a staple among athletes who want to avoid being sidelined by cramps. However, if you have gastroesophageal reflux disorder or are trying to cut back on salt, you might want to check with your doctor before trying this approach. Scientists think the foods might stimulate ion channels in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach to send signals to the central nervous system that inactivate overexcited neurons.

  • HotShot . This 1.7-ounce dose of cinnamon, ginger, lime juice, sweeteners, and capsaicin (the active compound in chili peppers) was developed by Dr. Bean and Dr. Rod MacKinnon, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry at Rockefeller University, as a remedy for cramping during rigorous exercise. It works along the same principle as mustard and pickle juice, but has longer-lasting effects. It is currently available commercially as a sports beverage. “Although I am aware of people using it for nocturnal leg cramps, it has not yet been formally tested for that use,” Dr. Bean says.

Leg cramps

Throughout life, probably, every person is faced with cramps, especially in the legs.

They are found both in absolutely healthy people and can be a symptom of some diseases.

A cramp is a sudden, involuntary spasm (contraction) of a muscle. It can occur during sleep, during physical exertion, and also at rest.

There are main types of seizures: tonic (prolonged and severe tension) and clonic (muscle twitching), as well as mixed.

Localization is more often in the calf and foot muscles, the contraction lasts from a few seconds to several tens of minutes and is facilitated by a strong stretching of the muscles. There are also complaints about the localization of seizures – hips, shoulder girdle, wrists, abdominal wall.

After a spasm, persistent soreness can persist for several hours or even days.

The most effective way to relieve spasm is to stretch the affected muscle.

Causes of leg cramps

Physiological – occurs after significant physical exertion, especially after a long period of low activity or in the absence of a warm-up before exercise, during pregnancy, with a sedentary lifestyle, hypothermia or overheating (during swimming in cool water, with heat stroke), dehydration of the body (with increased sweating, the use of a small amount of liquid).

Leg cramps in pregnant women are usually associated with micronutrient deficiencies, and only as an additional reason they mention poor circulation, varicose veins, and edema.

With the growth of the abdomen, due to a change in the center of gravity and weight gain, the calf muscles “clog”, become denser and shorter. This in itself impairs circulation, blood flow and lymph flow in the legs.

During intense training, microtraumas appear in the muscles and the transmission of nerve impulses that regulate muscle contraction and relaxation is disrupted. This can cause involuntary spasms.

Metabolic occur in various diseases: cirrhosis of the liver, renal failure, diabetes mellitus, diseases of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, lack of vitamins D and B, electrolyte disorders (deficiency of magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron), malabsorption syndrome, on the background of hyperthermia, infection and intoxication, with vascular pathology (chronic venous insufficiency), post-traumatic conditions.

In diabetes, the functioning of the autonomic nervous system is disrupted. The greatest loads are experienced by peripheral nerve endings in the limbs, which cause the development of neuropathy. And neuropathy in 40% of cases is accompanied by convulsions.

In chronic venous insufficiency, stagnation of blood occurs in the veins, which causes swelling of tissues, disruption of local metabolism and, in particular, the mechanism of entry of magnesium, potassium, and calcium into cells. Spontaneous muscle contraction occurs, accompanied by severe soreness. To understand that it is the veins that are the cause – pay attention to the presence of edema, especially in the evening, discomfort and fatigue in the legs, itching and burning, especially in the feet, visible, well-drawn veins under the skin on the legs, spider veins and spider veins.

Redistribution of fluids in the body: true convulsions can also be noted in conditions where there is an unusual distribution of fluid in the body. An example is cirrhosis of the liver, in which there is an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites). Similarly, seizures are a relatively common complication of the rapid changes in body fluids that occur during dialysis for kidney failure.

Seizures are seen in any circumstance that reduces the availability of calcium or magnesium in body fluids, such as after taking diuretics, hyperventilation, excessive vomiting, lack of calcium and/or magnesium in the diet, inadequate absorption of calcium due to vitamin D deficiency, reduced parathyroid function .

Low potassium levels: Low blood potassium levels sometimes cause muscle cramps, although muscle weakness is more common with hypokalemia.

A lack of certain vitamins can also lead directly or indirectly to muscle cramps. These include deficiencies in thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), and pyridoxine (B6). The exact role of deficiency of these vitamins in causing seizures is unknown.

Medications Convulsions may occur when taking drugs more often than diuretics, calcium channel blockers, statins, steroid hormones, retinoids, psychotropic drugs, immunosuppressants, etc.

Neurological may occur in diseases such as polyneuropathy, including dysfunction of the lumbar and sacral plexuses, flat feet, hereditary diseases, Parkinson’s disease.

The basis is the deterioration of the innervation of the muscles that help pump blood from the lower extremities. With this variant of seizures, are characteristic:

  • Lower back pain and fatigue
  • Mobility restriction
  • Presence of osteochondrosis and hernias

Spasms are often manifested against the background of stress and psycho-emotional stress.

Idiopathic convulsions ie when the cause cannot be found.

To reduce the risk of seizures, it is recommended:

  • Balanced diet and intake of mineral and vitamin complexes
  • Drinking mode
  • Comfortable and rational footwear
  • Exercise to stimulate the muscles of the legs
  • massage, contrast shower

If convulsions are short-term and rarely occur, first of all it is necessary to assess the situation in which they occurred, perhaps they are physiological, but if they are frequent and prolonged, it is necessary to contact a specialist in person to exclude serious diseases. It must be remembered that convulsions are only a symptom.

It is initially recommended to visit a therapist, if necessary, he will refer to a narrower specialist:

  • Orthopedist
  • Phlebologist
  • Neurologist
  • Vertebrologist
  • Rheumatologist
  • Endocrinologist

From laboratory diagnostics, can be offered:

  • 250003 HPLC determination of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • 250004 HPLC determination of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • 250002 Vitamin B1 (thiamine) determination by HPLC
  • 0 Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
  • 0

    Glycosylated hemoglobin

  • 080002 Parathyroid hormone
  • 300103 Thyroid function diagnostics (screening)
  • 080006 25-OH Vitamin D (25-Hydroxyvitamin D)
  • 110006 Complete blood count + ESR with leukocyte formula
  • 0

    Cholesterol (total)

  • 0

    Glucose

  • 0

    Urea

  • 0

    Creatinine

  • 0

    Gamma-glutamine transferase

  • 0

    Alkaline phosphatase

  • 0

    Alanine aminotransferase

  • 0

    Aspartate aminotransferase

  • 0

    Iron

  • 0

    Magnesium

  • 0

    Calcium (Ca2+), Sodium (Na+), Potassium (K+), Chlorine (Cl-)

References

  1. J. Wasson. Clinical symptoms: from patient complaints to differential diagnosis. A complete systematic guide. / Translation from English. Publishing house BINOM, Moscow, 2016 ISBN978-5-9518-0533-1
  2. Clinical guidelines (protocol) for the provision of emergency medical care for convulsions in children (Russian Society for Emergency Medicine Union of Pediatricians of Russia), 2015
  3. Neurology. Textbook. Suslina Z.A., Piradov M.A., Maksimova M.Yu. M.: Practice. 2015
  4. RUSSIAN CLINICAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF CHRONIC DISEASES OF THE VEINS, Association of Phlebologists of Russia All-Russian Society of Surgeons Approved by the expert meeting on 10.02.13, Moscow

Blog | Leg cramps

Leg cramps are painful involuntary muscle contractions that can last seconds or minutes. They affect sleep, exercise regimen and overall quality of life. Certain conditions and medications can cause them, and there are risk factors to avoid. When a cramp occurs, try bending your leg, applying heat or ice, and massaging the area.

What are leg cramps

Leg cramps are sudden, involuntary, intense muscle pains, usually in the calves, feet, or thighs. You may also have heard the term “Charlie’s horse”. Sometimes a muscle cramp can cause cramping in the entire leg. Although cramps are painful to life, they are usually harmless.

What does a leg cramp look like

Leg cramps feel like a tight muscle or as if the muscles are tied in a knot. It can be very uncomfortable, painful, or even unbearable. Your muscles in this area may ache for several hours after the cramp has passed.

How to stop leg cramps

Try to strongly stretch the affected muscle (for example, stretch the calf muscle by bending the foot up). Swing your leg, massage it, or force yourself to walk. Applying ice or heat can also help – use a heating pad or take a warm bath.

Unfortunately, there are no pills or injections that instantly relieve leg cramps when they occur. However, there are ways that can prevent seizures.

Can you have leg cramps at night

Leg cramps can happen when you are not very active or when you sleep. They can wake you up, make it difficult to fall asleep, and make you feel sore all night. Yearly, monthly, weekly, nightly – the frequency of leg cramps depends on the individual. Nighttime leg cramps can happen to anyone at any age, but they are most common in older people. Among people over 60, 33% experience leg cramps at night at least once every two months. Nearly every adult aged 50 and over will have one at least once in their lifetime. And only 7% of children experience leg cramps. About 40% of pregnant women experience nighttime leg cramps. It is believed that the reason for this is that extra weight during pregnancy strains the muscles.

Three quarters (75%) of all reported leg cramps occur at night.

How long do leg cramps last

Leg cramps can last from a few seconds to several minutes.

Who gets leg cramps

The older you are, the more likely you are to get leg cramps. This is because your tendons (the tissues that connect your muscles to your bones) naturally shorten as you age. You are also more likely to get them if you are a woman. Up to 60% of adults experience leg cramps at night.

Are leg cramps a sign of something serious?

Leg cramps can sometimes be a symptom of a serious illness. If you are concerned that you have a serious illness, do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider and report your symptoms, including leg cramps.

How common are leg cramps

Leg cramps are very common and normal, especially at night.

What is the difference between leg cramps and restless legs syndrome (RLS)

Although both nocturnal leg cramps (leg cramps at night) and restless leg syndrome usually occur at night or at rest, restless leg syndrome does not cause severe pain. Restless legs syndrome is uncomfortable, but not painful. It’s a crawling sensation that makes you move your legs. When you move, the anxiety stops, but the discomfort remains.

What causes leg cramps

Some leg cramps have no known cause and are called “idiopathic” cramps. “Secondary” leg cramps are a symptom or complication of a more serious condition.

The underlying cause of idiopathic leg cramps is under discussion. Possible causes include:

• Involuntary nerve discharges.

• Restriction of the blood supply.

• Stress.

• Too much high intensity exercise.

Pregnant women often have leg cramps day and night.

Possible causes of leg cramps at night (night leg cramps) include:

• Sitting for long periods of time.

• Excessive use of muscles.

• Working on concrete floors.

• Incorrect sitting posture.

Leg cramps are unlikely to cause the following conditions:

• Bone fractures.

• Fainting.

• Nausea.

• Numbness.

Which medicines can cause leg cramps

Medicines have side effects. It is possible that the drug you are taking may cause leg cramps. In this case, work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the pros and cons of the medication versus its side effects. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you another medicine that does not cause leg cramps as a side effect. Medications that cause leg cramps as a side effect include:

• Albuterol/ipratropium.

• Conjugated estrogens.

• Clonazepam.

• Diuretics.

• Gabapentin.

• Naproxen.

• Pregabalin.

• Statins.

• Zolpidem.

• Other drugs that cause leg cramps such as: amoxicillin, bromocriptine, celecoxib, cetirizine, chromium, cinacalcet, ciprofloxacin, citalopram, donepezil, eszopiclone, fluoxetine, intravenous iron, levalbuterol, levothyroxine, metformin, niconitic acid, nife dipine, rivastigmine , sertraline, telmisartan, teriparatide, and teriparatide raloxifene.

What health problems can cause leg cramps

Sometimes leg cramps happen for no reason, but in some cases they can be a sign or symptom of a health problem. If you have any of the following conditions, your leg cramps may be the result of this condition. Also be aware that if you don’t already know if you have any of these conditions, leg cramps could be a sign that you have one. Always check with your healthcare provider if you think leg cramps are a symptom of a more serious condition.

Leg cramps can be a sign of lifestyle, for example:

• Alcoholism: addiction to alcohol.

• Pregnancy.

• Dehydration: lack of fluid in the body.

Leg cramps can also be a sign of serious conditions, including:

• ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s Disease): a progressive neuromuscular disease.

• Cardiovascular disease: cardiovascular disease caused by blood clots or blood vessel disease. In addition, coronary heart disease: narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries.

• Cirrhosis of the liver: scarring of the liver.

• Diabetes: a disease that prevents the body from properly using the energy from the food you eat.

• Flat feet: no supportive arch of the foot.

• Hypokalemia: low blood potassium levels.

• Kidney failure (hemodialysis): a condition in which one or both kidneys stop working properly.

• Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease): corrosion of the cartilage that protects bones. Also, lumbar stenosis: narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back.

• Parkinson’s disease: a neurological movement disorder.

• Peripheral arterial disease: narrowing of the arteries. Also, peripheral neuropathy: damage to or dysfunction of one or more nerves.

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can cause nerve damage, which can cause leg cramps.

It is rumored that leg cramps can also be a sign of the following conditions. Fortunately, this is not the case. Leg cramps are unlikely to be a sign of these conditions/diseases:

• Childbirth.

• Lung cancer.

• Menopause.

• Multiple sclerosis.

Also leg cramps are unlikely to be a sign of deficiency:

• Alanine transaminase.

• Albumin.

• Bilirubin.

• Calcium.

• Creatinine.

• Glucose.

• Magnesium.

• Zinc, vitamin B12 or vitamin D.

What are the warning signs that leg cramps are coming

Unfortunately, leg cramps happen very suddenly. There are no warning signs. However, there are risk factors, such as pregnancy and medication, that cause leg cramps as a side effect.

How leg cramps are diagnosed

Your health care provider will need to know your medical history, medications you are taking, and a description of what you are experiencing. Report your symptoms to your healthcare provider, including the following information:

• When the leg cramps started.

• What pain looks like.

• When convulsions occur (eg at night or after vigorous exercise).

• How long the seizures last.

• Any other symptoms you are experiencing.

Your doctor will need to explain the difference between your leg cramps and other conditions that may resemble them, for example:

• Intermittent claudication.

• Peripheral neuropathy.

• Myositis.

• Restless legs syndrome.

To distinguish between these conditions, your doctor may:

• Check your pulse.

• Assess physical sensations such as tingling or other.

• Check deep tendon reflexes.

• Check leg strength.

Do I need to have any tests to diagnose leg cramps

Blood, urine, and other routine tests are not helpful in diagnosing leg cramps, but they can help identify previously undiagnosed disorders that are symptomatic of leg cramps. For example, your doctor will likely run typical tests, such as blood pressure, that can reveal heart and vascular risks.

What questions can your doctor ask about my leg cramps

To help you make a diagnosis, your doctor may ask the following questions:

• When do you experience leg cramps?

• How common are leg cramps?

• How would you describe your leg cramps?

• How long do leg cramps last?

• What medications are you currently taking?

• What diseases do you know you have?

• Do you have any medical conditions that may cause leg cramps?

• Do you have any other symptoms?

What can I do to get rid of leg cramps if they happen

You want to get rid of leg cramps the moment they occur. Perhaps you’re finishing your workout, or a cramp has woken you up in the middle of the night. At such moments, unfortunately, there are no magical injections that can instantly relieve pain. However, there are eight steps to take to get rid of leg cramps:

• Sipping. Straighten your leg and then bend it, pulling your toes towards your lower leg to stretch the muscles.

• Massage. Use your hands or a roller to massage the muscles.

• Get into a standing position. Get on your feet with your feet flat on the floor.

• Walking. Swing the leg in which you feel cramps while walking.

• Application of heat. Use a heating pad or take a warm bath.

• Applying cold. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the affected muscle.

• Painkillers. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain.

• Try to raise your legs.

Stretches for leg cramps

Try this exercise if you have calf cramps: standing (or sitting with your leg out in front of you), straighten your leg and lift your foot until your toes point to shin. Stretch your toes if you can reach them. You can also try walking in heels.

What medicines can help with leg cramps

Currently, there is no recommended medication that can prevent leg cramps in 100% of cases. However, there are some prescription drugs that show little evidence for preventing leg cramps. Under the watchful eye of your doctor, you can try the following drugs:

• Carisoprodol: a muscle relaxant.

• Diltiazem: calcium channel blocker.

• Orphenadrine: treats muscle spasms and relieves muscle pain and stiffness.

• Verapamil: calcium channel blocker.

Which vitamins can help with leg cramps

No vitamin can help with leg cramps in 100% of cases. However, some experts recommend taking a vitamin B12 complex.

Does quinine help with leg cramps

Quinine was thought to help with leg cramps, but is no longer recommended. Since when taking it, potentially life-threatening side effects are possible: arrhythmias, thrombocytopenia and hypersensitivity reactions.

When should I treat leg cramps in the emergency room

Go to the emergency room if leg cramps last more than 10 minutes or become unbearably painful. Also, if leg cramps happen after you have touched (taken) a substance that may be poisonous. For example, if you have a cut on your skin that was dirty or you touched the ground/dirt, you could get a bacterial infection such as tetanus. Exposure to mercury, lead, or other toxic substances should also be a reason to go to the emergency room.

Is there any surgery that could help my leg cramps

Surgery is not currently recommended for treating leg cramps.

How to reduce your risk of leg cramps

Experts can’t promise you will never get leg cramps again, but there are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk:

To keep you hydrated, drink six to eight glasses of water every day. Don’t drink too much alcohol and caffeine.

• Adjust how you sleep. Use pillows with your toes pointing up if you sleep on your back. If you sleep on your stomach, try hanging your legs over the edge of the bed. Both positions will help keep your legs relaxed.

• Gently stretch your leg muscles before going to bed.

• Keep blankets and sheets loose around your legs so that your fingers and toes are not pinched.

• Wear shoes that fit you.

• Do frequent leg exercises.

• Stretch your muscles before and after your workout.

• Experiment with light exercise right before bed. Walk on the treadmill or ride your bike for a few minutes.

What stretches help prevent leg cramps

To prevent calf cramps, try this: Stand about one meter from a wall. Lean forward. Touch the wall with outstretched arms, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Count to five before returning to the starting position. Repeat the exercise over and over again for at least five minutes. Do it three times a day.

Is it possible to cure leg cramps

There is currently no cure for leg cramps. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent and manage leg cramps.

Can leg cramps get worse

The severity of leg cramps is difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Some people see improvement with prevention and treatment, while others struggle with seizures without success. It is possible that your cramps will feel stronger and occur more frequently as you age.

How can I take care of myself

Work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that includes prevention and surgery. Prevention includes several activities that you may want to do every day, such as:

• Exercise: do leg exercises throughout the day and light, short walks or bike rides right before bed.

• Hydration: Drink eight glasses of water every day. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.

• Medicines and vitamins. Take all vitamins and medications (including muscle relaxants) exactly as and when prescribed by your doctor.

• Prepare your sleeping area by keeping a heating pad and massage roller near your bed.

• Shoes: buy supportive and comfortable shoes.

• Sleeping position: Experiment with different positions to see if one works better than another. Keep your toes elevated if you’re lying on your back, and hang your legs over the edge of the bed if you’re lying on your stomach.

• Stretching. Stretch your legs before and after exercise, and just before bed.

Your current treatment plan may include the eight steps mentioned above.

When should I see a doctor about leg cramps

See a doctor if your leg cramps are unbearably painful, occur frequently, or last for a long time. Also, see your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms in addition to leg cramps:

• Muscle spasms in other parts of the body.

• Significant pain.

• Swelling or numbness in the leg.

• Changes in the skin of the legs.

• If you wake up again and again at night with leg cramps.

• If your leg cramps are preventing you from getting enough sleep.

• If you are dehydrated or have an electrolyte imbalance.

• Seek immediate medical attention if you are concerned that your leg cramps are a symptom of an underlying serious illness.

What questions should I ask my doctor about leg cramps

• Do you think my leg cramps are a symptom of an underlying condition?

• Can you recommend exercises that I can do to stretch my muscles?

• Can you show me the best massage techniques I can use to help my leg cramps?

• Is it safe for me to take medicine for leg cramps?

• What medicines should I take?

• Do you recommend that I see a physiotherapist, sleep specialist, masseur or other specialist?

• How can I help my child with leg cramps?

• Should I watch for symptoms other than leg cramps, which may indicate a more serious condition?

• How often should I see you for leg cramps?

Leg cramps can be unpredictable and distressing.