Nocturnal leg cramps, as the name itself may suggest are cramps which affect the legs during the night, regardless whether we are sleeping or just resting at the time. Older people seem to be more prone to this phenomenon and it usually manifests on the thighs, feet and the calf area. These cramps are not reserved for occurrence during the night since many people experience these cramps during the day too. Moreover, certain children are suffering from this problem at this very instance, so it is not an issue limited to adults.
Causes of Nocturnal Cramps
One of the main reasons behind nocturnal cramps is excessive physical activity. Namely, once you go overboard with muscle straining through sports or exercising, you are likely to experience this problem. On the other hand, nocturnal cramps may take place after you have been standing still or in the same position for a long period of time, usually in an inadequate posture.
These cramps may happen due to lack of water and nutrients in your body too. Basically, dehydration leads to these deficiencies and, thereby, to nocturnal cramps. Alternatively, spending your days in positions which may block the blood flow to certain areas are all conditions which can cause nocturnal cramps later.
Finally, calcium and magnesium deficiencies trigger these cramps as well.
As for more serious causes behind this phenomenon, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, endocrine gland dysfunction, Parkinson's, or excessive consumption of birth control pills, all belong to the list of possible causes of nocturnal cramps in people.
Treatment for Nocturnal Cramps
Simply enough, you have to make sure that all the cases are out of the way in your lifestyle, in order to get rid of the nocturnal cramps too. Drink sufficient amounts of water, maintain a proper posture both during the day and during the night, wear comfortable shoes, eat a balanced diet and keep your body in a good shape. This way, you will keep the cramps at bay.
Your doctor will probably recommend quinine, which can be found in certain drinks, or potassium, obtained through pork, potatoes, apricots, broccoli, bananas, raisins and beans. Finally, you may soak the troublesome legs in warm water for a while, allowing the muscles to relax.
Naturally, if your organism lacks any vitamins or other vital nutrients, you are highly recommended to obtain these through supplements or dietary modifications. If your nocturnal cramps fail to cease after these steps, seek medical attention as soon as possible.