Leg cramp, also known as muscle cramp occurs in the event of a leg muscles drastically contracting in a manner that one cannot avoid. This is accompanied by an acute pain in the legs. Mostly, the muscles which are known to be affected by this condition are those that cross over two joints likes of knee, ankle or hip. Examples of these muscles are calf muscles which cross the knee and ankle, the quadriceps which crosses hip and knee, and the hamstring muscle which also crosses the hip and the knee.
Leg cramps are known to last only for about a minute with some more minutes taken before contraction gets back to normalcy. They are commonly known to occur at bedtimes awakening one from deep sleeps as they are extremely acute in an abrupt way.
Causes of Leg Cramps
There is no specific cause of leg cramps that has been discovered yet but there exist a number of causing factors that leads to this condition. Below is an insight into such causing factors.
- A condition known as deep vein thrombosis is among the health conditions known to be associated with causing leg cramps. This simply tampers with the flow of blood in the legs by causing some sort of blood clotting. To depict that it is really deep vein thrombosis that is causing leg cramps, you will experience redness and swelling in the legs accompanied by severe pain. In most cases the symptoms are experienced in only one leg and some form of lumps could also develop.
- Electrolyte imbalance also falls in the list of the factors that contribute to leg cramps. In the event of this kind of imbalance in the body, some signs and symptoms will be experienced that will result into muscle cramps or simply leg cramps. There exist three types of electrolytes that helps maintain health of human being muscles. These electrolyte elements include sodium, potassium and calcium. Their possibility of depletion is not out of reach and the moment it occurs the adverse effects that come along are the likes of leg cramps. This leads us to another possible cause outlined below.
- Poor eating habits prove to result into leg cramps. We are vulnerable to occurrence of leg cramps if our food intake does not feature ample carbohydrates, magnesium, sodium or calcium minerals. With carbohydrates, it keeps off muscle fatigue as it is builds the muscles strong enough; sodium helps in getting rid of cramping as a result of heat; calcium helps in contracting muscles thus keep them strong to be able to stand cramps. These minerals are present in a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals, dairy products and other plant sources. Ensure that the food you consume everyday features even about three quarter of these varieties we have mention so as to stay safe from muscle cramps.
- The habit of over exercising is only a contributing cause to leg cramps. By over exercising you definitely strain your muscles so much and in the event you are relaxed they tend to contract leading into an abrupt occurrence of leg cramps.
- Dehydration is also a cause of leg cramps. In the event of failing to intake sufficient water and skipping meals your body may end up dehydrated thus exposing your body to vulnerability of leg cramps occurrences. Dehydration is the lead cause of electrolyte imbalance.
Symptoms of Leg Cramps
The symptoms of leg cramps are obvious as they are evident physically so any sensible person will have to feel them. Some of the symptoms could be notable muscle strains and evident leg swelling.
However, the symptoms vary greatly depending on the causing factor involved. For instance a case of leg cramps for a pregnant woman will have extremely different symptoms from the case where ones body is simply dehydrated or fatigued. Diabetes also has leg cramps as a sign so sometimes occurrence of leg cramps could have a deeper than what you can see with a naked eye.
Leg Cramps Home Remedies
Leg cramps may tend to be extremely agonizing and thus a fast relief is enlisted to cool things down. However, with the exact cause of leg cramps yet to be discovered the remedies available only seem to be the natural ones. For instance consuming a significant amount of water could help keep off leg cramps. Besides, maintaining the intake of nutritious and balanced diets can help a lot as it ensures that your body's electrolyte balance is maintained.
Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.
- Bilberry- Bilberry is a fruit in the blueberry family that contains properties similar to those found in muscle relaxant drugs. Adults may take a 500 mg bilberry supplement pill at the time of a leg cramp. You can repeat this up to three times every hour as needed for good results.
- Gingko Biloba- Optimize circulation in your legs to control leg cramps by taking gingko biloba supplements. How does gingko biloba help as a treatment for leg cramps? Well, Gingko opens up your blood vessels and increases blood flow to your limbs.
- Ginger- Ginger is another herbal remedy that can aid circulation issues that may be contributing to your leg cramps. For best results, you can drink up to 3 cups of ginger tea daily in order to reap its benefits.
- Herbal Barks- There are a number of herbal backs that help in treating leg cramps .Cramp bark and Peruvian bark are two herbal remedies that can help ease the pain of leg cramps. Both herbs have anti-spasmodic qualities.
- Black cohosh- This herb helps to relax the muscles.simply,take a 500 mg capsule of powdered root or 30 to 60 drops of tincture in a little warm water every one or two hours when your muscles cramp up .about two or even three doses is enough. Make sure not to use black cohosh more than six months at a time. Pregnant or expectant women are discouraged from using this herb.
- Horse chestnut- The root of this herb contains the extract that is used to treat leg cramps.
- Nettles, Alfalfa and Oat straw- Make a mixture of the following herbs: Nettles, Alfalfa and Oat straw and you will have made tea which is rich with minerals thus help you treat the leg cramps you are experiencing.
Prevention and Dietary Remedies
There are various ways of preventing the occurrence of leg cramps both in physical and dietary perspectives. Some of them are outlined below:
· The best favor you can do to yourself in the event of leg cramp occurrence is simply relaxing so as to allow the cramping muscles to cool down and regain the normalcy state. This is only suitable for sorting out a leg cramp that has already started but there are still other prevention measures one should put in place to avoid future occurrence of leg cramps.
· The daily minerals and vitamins intake may be the remedy tip you are yet to try to keep off leg cramps. As it is proved and tested, electrolyte imbalance in the body is a lead cause of leg cramps. Below is an insight into dietary habits that can help curb leg cramps; hence mineral foods such as bananas could be the remedy since they features potassium and magnesium which enhances electrolyte balance.
· When it comes to exercising, it is advisable that you avoid straining your body excessively by going miles harder. Instead, consider to gradually up your pace to allow your body to build up properly and handle the pressure you expose it to. This will ensure that you stay away from leg cramps either during the course of the physical activity or during later hours when you are asleep. It is recommended that you stretch properly before starting on an exercise to set your body muscles ready.
· Body hydration is also of great importance since a vast amount is lost in the event of exercising. It is healthy for any normal being to intake about eight glasses of water in a day to keep his or her body hydrated. This will leave the body muscles functioning properly and get rid of any possible leg cramps occurrences.
· Lack of exercise is another similar cause of leg cramps. Your body muscles need to be constantly stimulated so as to keep them fit. For this reason spending all your time behind a television when at home or behind a computer when at work could cause you some deadly leg cramps at night or in the event of carrying out a simple task. It is for therefore advisable to consider simple exercise such as jogging around the compound, stretching whenever you have a chance, walking and climbing stairs instead of using elevators all the times. This will leave your muscles fit and not vulnerable to leg cramps occurrence.
· Muscles can stiffen even before the real occurrence of the leg cramp which is also a muscle cramp. To get rid of this stiffness you need to massage the muscles amply and softly stretch them without going so hard. This will soften the stiff muscles and get rid of any possible leg cramp that was to occur.
· Leg cramps may result as a result of tampered blood circulation which could be as a result of standing or sitting in one position for long time. To prevent this it is advisable you consider changing postures frequently and having short walks time after time, even in the office from one table to the other just to keep blood circulating. This will ensure that leg cramps totally stays away from you.
A need for a qualified doctor is enlisted in evaluating the cause and effect of leg cramps as they proves to have complication hidden behind which needs some knowledgeable mind in clarifying. However, following the prevention tips outlined above can prove to be extremely beneficial if followed to the dot.
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