What are Leg Cramps?
Leg Cramps are characterized by sudden and involuntary contraction of leg muscles leading to pain and discomfort. These cramps can last up to a few seconds or minutes. The calf muscles, hamstring muscles and the quadriceps are the most common muscles that cause Leg Cramps.
This problem occurs more commonly in older individuals. They are generally considered harmless. When Leg Cramps occur suddenly during night time, they are referred to as Night Leg Cramps. Pregnant women are more susceptible to these Nocturnal Leg Cramps. However, Leg Cramps should not be mistaken for Restless Legs Syndrome which is a Sleeping Disorder.
The conventional painkillers take a great deal of time in suppressing the pain. Hence, they are usually not helpful in such cases because mostly, Leg Cramps disappear within a few moments leaving behind tender muscles. Therefore, home treatment for Leg Cramps is the best method of treatment for this condition. In this regard, stretching exercises are regarded as the most effective natural home remedies for Leg Cramps.
Causes and Symptoms of Leg Cramps
Dehydration leading to electrolyte imbalance is one of the most common causes of Leg Cramps. The condition may also be caused by overexertion of leg muscles, overly tight muscles, lack of blood supply, flat feet, nerve or muscle diseases and over exercising.
Diseases like Cirrhosis, Lead Poisoning, Hypothyroidism, Low Blood Sugar, Diarrhea, Diabetes, Addison’s disease, Peripheral Artery Disease, Sarcoidosis and kidney failure have also been associated with Leg Cramps. Besides, certain medicines such as diuretics, asthma medications, contraceptive pills and other such medicines have also been known to cause the same.
Overweight individuals are more likely to suffer from this problem. Plus, excess alcohol consumption may also increase the risk of developing this ailment. When the exact cause behind this condition is not known, then the condition is referred to as Idiopathic Leg Cramp.
Leg Cramps tend to recur again and again, a number of times before going away completely. The affected muscles generally remain tender for a while (about 24 hours) even after the cramp disappears. The condition is accompanied by sudden and intense pain.
Natural Home Remedies for Leg Cramps
- Stretching the toes and pointing them towards the knees is one of the most widely used and instinctive Leg Cramps home remedies. This natural remedy is particularly useful for relaxing calf muscles. For further stretching, stand on the ball of the foot while pointing the toes upwards.
- Gently rub the tightened muscles in the direction of the muscles to improve blood circulation and heal Leg Cramps.
- Staying hydrated is one of the most important natural home remedies for Leg Cramps treatment as they are often triggered by dehydration. For this, have eight glasses on water every day.
- Drinking a glass of warm milk before bed time helps to prevent Night Leg Cramps. Two teaspoons of honey can also be taken on a daily basis to eliminate this problem.
- Regular consumption of a few tablespoons of yellow mustard is a valuable natural remedy used to cure Leg Cramps naturally.
- Having a combination of one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of calcium lactate mixed in half a glass of water is one of the most trusted Leg Cramps home remedies.
- Regularly drink red raspberry leaf tea for at least two weeks to get rid of Leg Cramps. Chamomile tea is also beneficial in dealing with muscle pains.
- Pinching the middle portion of the upper lip is a weird yet effective Leg Cramps home remedy that relieves the pain almost immediately.
- Hot and cold packs serve as efficient home remedies for Leg Cramps. Warm baths are also useful in relaxing the contracted muscles. Massaging the affected muscles with herbal oil and then wrapping the area with towel dipped in warm water is also beneficial in this regard.
- Acupressure therapy is a highly beneficial natural treatment for Leg Cramps. For this, gently press the joint between the big toe and the second toe.
Diet for Leg Cramps
A diet rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium is highly beneficial in preventing as well as reducing Leg Cramps due to electrolyte imbalance. Some rich sources of potassium are orange juice, tomatoes, cantaloupes, grapefruits, bananas etc.
Dairy products like milk, buttermilk and yogurt should be positively included in the diet to remove calcium deficiency. Nuts, soy products, beans, peas, lentils and other such foods are considered as rich sources of magnesium. Besides, regular consumption of garlic helps to ease muscular pain and tenderness.
Apart from these measures, include regular stretching and exercising in the daily routine. Press the toes against a wall to stretch the calf muscles. Warm up and cool down, that is, stretch before and after exercising in order to avoid Leg Cramps. In addition, avoid the consumption of alcohol to avoid this ailment.