A lot of people have experienced, at least once in their lifetime, how unpleasant is to wake up at night due to leg cramps. Hence, as written on Mayo Clinic, the reasons for this condition are several. Namely, they usually occur due to prolonged exercising, dehydration, nerve compression, or lack of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
It’s important to note that some people are more prone to night leg cramps than others. In fact, as we age, we lose muscle mass and so the calves and other muscles become more prone to overuse and cramping. Furthermore, pregnant women, diabetics, and people who suffer from nerve, liver, or thyroid disorders, experience more leg cramps than other people.
If you belong to some of these groups, you should know that there are certain things that you can do to prevent leg cramps, as well as several homemade remedies that will help you relax the muscles.
Take a look:
- Irish Spring soap
Believe it or not, sleeping with an unwrapped bar of Irish Spring soap between your sheets can have an amazing effect if you suffer from leg cramps. Namely, as seen on Live Science, this remedy was presented on the Dr. Oz Show and even though the reason behind the treatment is unknown, Dr. Oz believes that lavender smell has a positive effect in relaxing tense muscles.
According to Reader’s Digest Best Health, applying a hot washcloth or placing an electric heating pad to the cramped muscle can improve the blood flow and relax the muscle. Additionally, warm, relaxing shower or bath with Epsom salt can also have a relieving effect.
Potassium is a mineral whose role in controlling muscle contractions is crucial. And, as previously mentioned, if you frequently experience night leg cramps, you could be suffering from potassium deficiency. Therefore, include more foods that contain potassium like bananas, tomato paste, orange juice, raisins, dates, beans, and papaya.
To prevent their occurrence, take short walks throughout the day. Health Line advises that keeping the legs moving increases the blood flow and eases the ache and cramps caused by diabetes and other conditions.
- Tonic water
According to a study by the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, quinine, present in tonic water, has an amazing effect in lowering the frequency of leg cramps.
When your calf is cramping, you need to stand in front of a wall and place all your weight on the cramped leg and bend the knee in order to stretch the muscle. If you cannot stand, sit on the floor or in a chair with the cramped leg extended and with a straight leg, try to pull the top of the foot toward the head.
- Self massage
Find the center of your cramp, and, by using your thumb or the heel of the hand, press into the muscle. Hold the pressure for ten seconds, release, and then push again. Repeat the massage couple of times and you will feel the muscle relaxing and releasing.
- Apple cider vinegar
As seen on Livestrong, naturopaths advise drinking apple cider diluted with warm water and a teaspoon of honey to prevent nighttime leg cramps. Moreover, you can prepare a compress by soaking a cloth in vinegar and wrapping it around the affected muscle. Remove the cloth after 20 minutes.